Major new cycling races planned for Ripon

Organisers hope to continue the excitement created by the Tour de Yorkshire and Tour de France.
Organisers hope to continue the excitement created by the Tour de Yorkshire and Tour de France.

Plans to bring a major new cycling event to Ripon have been overwhelmingly backed by city councillors, riders and supporters from across the district.

Members of Ripon’s Moonglu Cycling Club were among those attending Monday night’s city council meeting, where councillors voted to underwrite the cost of up to £8,500 to make the Ripon Cycle Road Races happen on June 24.

Organised by Coun Richard Willis, who has been working behind the scenes for two years to establish the event, there will be a packed programme of youth races, men’s and women’s races, and a chance to see some of the country’s top cyclists in action.

Another big part of the day will be a city ride, where families are invited to join in and be part of the cycling fever, riding through the streets of Ripon with road closures in place.

Coun Willis has big ambitions for the race, and hopes to make it a thriving annual event that draws in visitors from across the district and the country.

He said: “The aim is to really put Ripon on the cycling map even more than it already is - to bring in a lot of people who will probably have never visited the city before and not seen what we are capable of doing.

“We want to put on a spectacle for residents and visitors, and make this an event that is a feature of the city’s timetable for many years to come.”

Those attending the meeting on Monday emphasised the need to continue the excitement created by the Tour de France and Tour de Yorkshire races coming through Ripon.

With a global television audience of more than 300 million people expected to tune in to the UCI Road World Championships next year, where Ripon has been proposed as a starting location, Coun Willis said it is an ideal time to establish the Ripon Cycle Road Races to keep the buzz around cycling.

He said: “We need to make this a legacy for Ripon. I was overwhelmed with the support on Monday night at the meeting, I knew Moonglu was on board, but they brought people with them from all over - Harrogate, Knaresborough, Boroughbridge, it was amazing to see them coming to say they support it.”

Although the city council has agreed to underwrite the £8,500, Coun Willis aims for the cost to be much less, and will be seeking sponsorship from businesses and other organisations to reduce the amount needed from the council.

He said: “I’ve got a few people interested already, and I’m just putting together a sponsorship package for companies to get involved. I want as many interested as possible.”

Ripon businessman Chris Davis said at the meeting: “There is a real cycling buzz in Ripon at the moment, and we need to keep that. It’s imperative that we have this event.”

The planned route so far will see cyclists starting and finishing outside Sainsbury’s on Market Place East, heading north on to Queen Street, turning left onto Fishergate then Market Place West, and heading down High Skellgate.

Riders will then turn left onto Water Skellgate and Skellgarths, go left up Bedern Bank, turn left up Kirkgate, and go back into the Square.

Moonglu Cycling Club is partnering with Coun Willis to work on the event - he said he’s extremely grateful for their support.

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