A PROFESSIONAL cyclist from Upper Beeding has welcomed news of a fast and exciting new cycling event planned for next summer.
The Street Velodrome Series is coming to the south coast and action from the event will be broadcast across 180 countries by the likes of Sky, Channel 4 and Eurosport.
Worthing is one of six locations in the UK to host the pop-up racing competition for professional and amateur riders.
Peter Mitchell, 24, is backing the series’ debut in Worthing to be a big success, but says he will not be able to compete himself.
He said: “I know a few riders who have done them. I have heard they are really good fun. Having seen it, it looks incredibly exciting, challenging and dramatic.
“It certainly makes cycling more accessible. Track cycling is the least accessible part of cycling, as you need a track. Road racing you can do wherever you are. There’s not really a velodrome within an hour-and-a-half’s drive from Upper Beeding.”
Peter has had to decline an invitation to take part in the event, as he does not return from his honeymoon until August 3.
“It’s a real shame,” he said. “I would’ve loved to have done it.”
Worthing Borough Council intends to hold the two-day event at Beach House Grounds, next door to the Splashpoint leisure facility.
Carl Thompson, series director, said: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to bring the excitement and action of the televised Street Velodrome Series to Worthing.
“The south coast resort is an ideal addition to our national tour due to its cycling legacy and the council’s ambition to promote greater cycling participation. It has an excellent and growing reputation as a cycle friendly town and an ideal location for cycle tourism, being at the foot of the South Downs. Worthing also boasts one of the country’s oldest cycle clubs in the Excelsior Club established 128 years ago.”
The action is made up of head-to-head pursuit races between two riders – just like the racing in the Olympic velodrome during London 2012.
Entry for both amateur participants and spectators will be free. All the necessary equipment needed, including race specification bikes, is provided by StreetVelodrome, with each amateur rider also given expert coaching prior to their attempt to qualify to race against the professionals. The total cost is estimated to be £21,500 and will come from council funds.
A report by Scott Marshall, Adur and Worthing council’s director for the economy, reads: “The cost to host the event can be offset considerably (and possibly cost neutral) by a mix of selling advertising space for the event and by creating a wider community festival around the event space based on food, drink and crafts stalls.”
For more details, visit www.streetvelodrome.co.uk