Portsmouth gears up to host finals of elite Pearl Izumi Tour Series

It's Portsmouth's chance to shine on the grand stage.

Thursday, 9th June 2016, 8:18 am
Updated Friday, 10th June 2016, 11:35 am
Picture: Graham Reading

As momentum builds over the bid to bring the Tour de France to the region, the city is gearing up to host a separate elite cycling spectacle featuring top riders from across the globe.

Action-packed, professional cycle racing comes to the city centre this evening when Portsmouth hosts the final round of the Pearl Izumi Tour Series.

The prestigious event will see top teams competing in fast sprint races throughout the evening.

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And the public will be able to turn up and watch professional athletes competing without paying a penny.

The event will start and finish in Guildhall Square, and there will be some road closures, diversions and parking restrictions in place throughout the day to enable to accommodate the occasion.

And before elite men and women get on their bikes and compete there will be a series of action-packed events on the track to get everyone in the mood.

Several Portsmouth schools will take part in a Pursuit Racing Challenge along a section of the race circuit between 11am and 1pm.

They will also take part in a number of cycling-related activities, including a tyre change time challenge, bike powered Scalextrics, a spin class challenge and BMX skills.

Uniformed and Armed Forces will then battle it out on the professional circuit between 1pm and 4pm.

Racing kicks off with the Royal Navy and Royal Marines in a 38-minute race, followed by a one-lap sprint.

Next up are the two Inter-Services and Club Championships between uniformed services and local cycling clubs, such as the Portsmouth North End Cycle Club, starting with the Women’s Championship first, followed by the men’s to mirror the format of the professional races in the evening.

Riders are all experienced at racing on a short fast-paced circuit, so it will provide a local taster of 
what to expect later in the day.

Councillor Donna Jones, leader of Portsmouth City Council, said: ‘Hosting the Pearl Izumi Tour Series will help raise the profile of cycling in the city.

‘It is one of the top professional road races in the annual cycling calender of the UK leading up to major events such as the Tour de France.

‘Being one of the host cities is a great indication of the city’s passion and commitment and demonstrates our aspiration to host a Tour de France in the future.’

THE Pearl Izumi Tour Series sees professional cycling teams compete in a bid to be the fastest in a one-hour circuit race.

There are ten rounds of the Pearl Izumi, with the finals being held in Portsmouth on a 1.2 kilometre closed road course around the city centre.

Croydon hosted the ninth round yesterday and the tenth comes to the city on Thursday, where it will be decided who the overall winners will be.

The six British UCI Continental, or international level, squads have taken part in every round of the Pearl Izumi Tour Series, led by defending champions Madison Genesis.

They will be joined by two-time winners JLT Condor presented by Mavic, the only team to have won two editions of the Series, in 2011 and 2014.

They are also the only team to have competed in every edition of the Tour Series to date.

Last year’s third placed team Pedal Heaven return, having moved up to the UCI Continental level for 2016, while Team Raleigh GAC are the second longest serving team in the Series, having competed annually since 2010.

The opening round of last year’s Pearl Izumi World Series took place at Ryde on the Isle of Wight, much to the delight of crowds who lined the streets to watch.

Ten teams headed out to the island to compete.

Highlights of the action are screened on ITV4 and available on demand via the ITV Player.



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