Monmouthshire bids to host top cycling
4:11pm Wednesday 2nd October 2013 in News
CYCLING stars Sir Bradley Wiggins and Tour de France winner Chris Froome could be among those competing in Monmouthshire if a bid to host the British National Road Championships next year is successful.
Abergavenny is already home to one of Britain’s cycling festivals, and it was announced in the summer that the county is to get its own cycling track at Gilwern making it a mecca for cycling.
The Elite men’s National Road Race Championship has been held in the town on two occasions, the first in 2007 with David Miller taking the title and more recently in 2009 when Kristian House won the prestigious event. It sees riders complete 13 laps on a 14.2km circuit.
At a meeting of Monmouthshire councillors, the deputy leader, Cllr Bob Greenland told members that the council is working closely with Bill Owen, organiser of the Abergavenny Festival of Cycling, in a bid to host the prestigious event - most likely in Abergavenny - as part of next year’s festival.
He said: “It is often said that cycling is the new golf in terms of the money spent in sport. Monmouthshire wants to position itself as a cycling capital. We already have the cycling festival thanks to local resident and organiser Bill Owen.”
“You will already be aware of a new cycle track to be built in Gilwern which will be used by elite and national squads, schools and many similar groups. We already have accommodation for up to 40 people which is anticipated it will bring an income, subject to a planning application.”
“We have put in a bid but have yet to hear the outcome. If successful the event is very high profile and takes place the week before the Tour de France and we can expect to see the likes of Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome competing.”
A spokesman for British cycling said he could not deny or confirm who the bidders are but said a statement is due to be released in the next week.
In July, the Free Press reported that the council has secured £150,000 in funding through the Sport Wales Calls for Action programme to support the construction of a closed-road cycling circuit at Gilwern Outdoor Education Centre, near Abergavenny.
The 1.2km looped circuit, which will span six metres in width, will offer the county an elite-level facility that will play host to national sporting competitions.
On a more regular basis, the velo-track will become a cycling hub, providing school and adult clubs space for cycling, training for competitive cycling groups, increasing disability cycling and providing a place for recreational cyclers.
It is estimated that the velo-track will see over 45,000 new participants accessing the site inside three years and is expected to open in time for the summer.
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