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Saturday, 25 October 2014

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The Pearl Izumi Tour Series BAE Systems Barrow Stage

LYRCA-CLAD elite athletes flew around Barrow at lightning speed as thousands gathered to witness a memorable spectacle for the town.

Click here to read the archive of the Evening Mail's live coverage of the event
Click here to see the past articles about The Pearl Izumi Tour Series BAE Systems Barrow Stage

Cycling enthusiasts and onlookers who had never witnessed a professional biking event flocked around the 1.1km track to watch an entire day of racing culminating in Graham Briggs’s thrilling sprint to take victory in the main event.

But throughout the day there was a chance for school pupils, aspiring young riders and keen amateurs to sample the unique atmosphere and pedal on the same track as Olympic gold hero Ed Clancy.

As music pumped through the PA system, the crowd cheered on every rider and, at the commentator’s behest, pounded on the barriers to show their support.

To accommodate the Pearl Izumi Tour Series BAE Systems Barrow Stage, roads were closed at 7am and the atmosphere built throughout the day until Duke Street was full ahead of the pro race at 7pm.

Mayor of Barrow, Councillor Marie Derbyshire, said: “It’s absolutely brilliant, it’s what Barrow needs and I knew they would be out in their droves supporting it.”

Keen cyclist Ian Jones, 63, of Ulverston, watched outside the town hall which was the main hub of the event. He said: “I’ve not been to a big cycling event like this before – it’s absolutely brilliant that it’s come to Barrow. How this sport has taken off is unbelievable.”

The event was brought to Barrow by Cumbria County Council. Councillor Geoff Cook, county council chairman, said: “We knew from experience when the Tour of Britain came through Cumbria last year that not only do these events showcase cycling, but they also bring visitors and encourage people to get out on their bike.

“In Carlisle there was a 50 per cent increase in people cycling in the city after the Tour started there.

“You need to put a certain amount of money in upfront to get things like this moving, but it’s the ongoing benefits that we look forward to. People are watching to see how it’s done and hopefully, with the Lake District adventure capital on the doorstep and the routes on the Furness peninsula, they will get on their bikes themselves.”

BAE Systems was the lead local sponsor for the event. Jackie Arnold, head of strategy and business development at BAE, said: “There’s obviously a long tradition of cycling at the shipyard and it would be excellent if we see even more, both in the shipyard and in the wider community, as a result of this. It’s just great to see the whole town coming out and feeling proud of Barrow.”

Have your say

Cyclists may not be important to the obese car-bound victims of mass advertising, but they do pay for the upkeep of the roads via council tax and should be considered unless you want Barrow to stay a 70s throwback.

Posted by Caroline on 24 May 2014 at 21:27

Chris they should concentrate on those that pay for the upkeep of the roads first. Cyclists are way, way down the list of priorities and should not be considered important.

Posted by Mike on 19 May 2014 at 18:50

View all 3 comments on this article

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