Pro cyclist is a hit at Benwick primary school in run up to Circuit of the Fens bike race
PUBLISHED: 15:08 21 July 2014 | UPDATED: 15:08 21 July 2014
One of the top cyclists competing in the Circuit of the Fens was a big hit with children when he appeared in full racing kit at a Fenland primary school.
Owen Lake, one of the professional riders in the elite Richardsons Trek team, and race organiser Tom Caldwell took their bikes along to Benwick primary school.
The village will be one of the best places to view the race, which takes the riders on a 135-mile circuit that begins and ends in Whittlesey town centre. Hundreds of spectators are expected to gather in the town and along key parts of the route.
Mr Caldwell said: “The Circuit of the Fens is a terrific opportunity for people who were thrilled by the Tour de France to see another great cycling race on their doorstep.
“Unlike the Tour de France, the race does several laps of a Fenland and town centre circuit, so people have more chances to get a great view of all the riders and watch the race as it unfolds.
“The race is the longest in the UK and although pan flat offers some of the most difficult and aggressive racing due to the roads and the wind.
“We were blown away with the response from the community last year and as a result the race has received the highest ranking from British Cycling for a domestic race, being part of their Grand Prix series.
“We are hoping for even bigger crowds this year so that we can turn the event into a major international sporting fixture made special by the involvement of the whole community.“
The race is being filmed by Eurosport, which will be showing extended highlights about a week after the event.
Councillor Michelle Tanfield, Fenland District Council’s Cabinet member responsible for sports development, leisure and tourism, said: “Having the Tour de France in Cambridge earlier this month undoubtedly inspired a lot of people to take an interest in cycling. Hopefully having another top race here so soon afterwards will build on that.
“It’s a sport that people of all ages can enjoy and it’s great way of keeping fit and healthy. What’s more, Fenland is the perfect place for it.
“To have such a big sporting event here – and having it featured on Eurosport – is also a great chance to show Fenland off to the wider world and attract more visitors here.”
The race will start at noon on Sunday and last nearly five hours, including six laps of a four-mile circuit and a sprint finish in the town centre. Full road closures will be in operation in Whittlesey town centre all day from 9am to 7pm plus rolling closures along the route.
Bands and solo artists will be performing in the town centre throughout the afternoon.
The weekend’s entertainment kicks off on Saturday, with fun for all promised at the ManorFest2 family festival at the Manor Centre in Station Road from 3-10pm.
Four bands will perform - Jessie’s Ghost, Symptom, Sons of Kal-El and Motor City Vipers – as well as local singer-songwriter Misty Jones.
There will also be BMX, skateboard, graffiti and circus workshops, together with various children’s activities, a barbecue and a mini-beer festival.
Tickets cost £4 (adult) and £2.50 (child). It’s free for under-2s. For more details or to book, visit www.newvisionfitness.co.uk.