Colchester: Town prepares for Tour Series

THOUSANDS of spectators are expected to line the streets of Colchester today as some of the country’s top cyclists descend on the town.

The latest leg of the Halfords Tour Series sees teams of five cyclists touring eleven locations across the country, as far as Durham, Peterborough and Torquay.

It will be the third time Colchester has hosted the event which is also expected to bring a welcome boost to the town’s economy.

Last year, Colchester was awarded the “Pride of the Halfords Tour Series” for its range of family activities in Castle Park which return again this year.

Upper Castle Park is hosting a mountain bike track, BMX ramp and sprint challenge, a children’s play area and live music, while football, cricket, tennis and golf skills sessions will be taking place in Lower Castle Park.

And for the first time, the Johnson Health Tech Grand Prix Series women’s race will be travelling through the High Street at 5.30pm before the men’s 1.5km street circuit which starts at 7pm.

The High Street and North Hill will be closed to traffic from 12noon while other areas of the town centre will be closed from 2pm.

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Colchester Borough Council say alterations to bus routes have been made clearer for passengers compared to last year and disabled parking sites have been created at the Mercury Theatre.

Bars and restaurants in the town are expected to benefit from the extra visitors to the town centre.

Restauranteur Patrik Minder from the Lemon Tree is hosting a special BBQ in the afternoon.

“It’s a difficult one to plan because it’s very weather dependent but the last three times we’ve hosted something it’s gone really well,” he said.

“We’re enclosed because we’re right on the circuit so it’s a great location in terms of watching the race and having a drink.

“But it’s a bit harder for retailers with the road closure, especially as it’s been a long bank holiday with fewer daus trading.”

Tour Series Commercial Director Alastair Grant praised Colchester for always hosting an extra special event.

“Colchester is a great setting for the race, we have crowds supporting the cyclists every time we come here. The council is very keen on promoting cycling and this is a great event to showcase that.

“This is a great opportunity to showcase Colchester on a national level and we always enjoy coming here.”

Highlights from the race will be televised on ITV4 on June 8. For some of the cyclists the Tour Series is preparation for the London Olympics, including gold medallist Ed Clancy who will be hoping to help lead his team to victory tonight.

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