VIDEO: Professional Tour Series bike race should have fans flocking to Torbay
TORBAY'S bid to be the top cycling destination in the south west has been boosted with the official launch of the spectacular professional racing of The Tour Series in Torquay.
The launch was delayed following the death of Devon racing cyclist Junior Heffernan during a race in Gloucestershire.
He was well known by the Plymouth team, Spin Rotor – Primal – C-Originals, who attended the launch with Torbay Mayor Gordon Oliver.
This will be the second time the country's leading professional cycling teams will battle it out on the English Riviera in round six of the series on Tuesday, May 28, after the Spring Bank Holiday.
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They will race round a route including the seafront, Kings Drive, Rathmore Road and Falkland Road giving a rare opportunity to see high speed professional racing up close and over an hour of action. It is the only leg being hosted in the west country.
Despite poor weather last May, thousands of people flocked to the seafront and surrounding areas for an afternoon of amateur races, many won by local riders, followed by the evening competition which is televised by ITV4.
It is estimated 12,500 visitors resulted in £136,077 spending, with nearly 20 per cent coming from outside the south west, and 67 per cent day visitors to Torbay. A quarter said the tour was the main or only reason for their visit and around a quarter stayed overnight.
Mayor Oliver said: "After the great success of last year's event, it is fantastic to see the The Tour Series returning to the Bay. The event has grown significantly and promises to be even more exciting this year. There will be an event village on Torre Abbey Meadows with many different activities and displays throughout the day while the community races take place. The excitement will carry on through to the evening when we will see the professional riders take to the circuit to give a spectacular show.
"We are keen to attract large and small events which have a positive, direct economic impact on local businesses. The events last year provided a feel good factor and gave local businesses a real boost."
Series race director Mick Bennett said: "We are looking forward to returning to Torquay with the half-term date providing a perfect chance for residents and visitors alike to enjoy first-class professional cycle racing.
"With our partners at Torbay Council we are working hard to ensure it's a memorable event." The Torquay round of The Tour Series will be shown on ITV4 on the evening of Wednesday May 29.