A new elite women’s race will be coming to Northumberland next year as part of the prestigious Northern Rock Cyclone cycling festival.
Called the Curlew Cup, the new race is sponsored by Northumberland National Park and will run alongside the North East’s long established Beaumont Trophy men’s elite contest.
It will be part of a strong eight-round National Women’s Road Series of races.
The Curlew Cup follows on from the success of the men’s and women’s National Championships races, which formed part of the Northern Rock Cyclone weekend in 2011 and brought household names like Bradley Wiggins and Lizzie Armitstead plus thousands of cycling fans to Northumberland.
Commenting on the news event organiser Peter Harrison said: “The Curlew Cup has been inspired by the enthusiasm for and success of the women’s National Championship race in 2011. I’d like to say a big thank you to Northumberland National Park for helping to make it a reality.”
Duncan Wise from Northumberland National Park added: “Northumberland is a stunning place to ride a bike and the Northern Rock Cyclone shows it at its best. To be able to support the weekend and bring a new women’s elite race to the area is fantastic for us.”
Already the news has proved popular with riders. North East rider and Horizon Fitness RT member Annie Simpson is expecting to take part in the race.
She said: “I can’t wait to see the elite women’s Curlew Cup race start up in the North East alongside the long-established Beaumont Trophy. Women’s racing is really coming of age, and I’d urge other race organisers to follow the Northern Rock Cyclone lead.”
The Curlew Cup (the bird is Northumberland National Park’s symbol) is part of the Northern Rock Cyclone weekend, which will run between June 28-July 1, 2012.
It is one of the UK’s biggest weekends of cycling and is set to attract even more people next year as it continues to expand. As well as the Curlew Cup, for 2012 there is also a new Tyne Six Bridges ride aimed at beginners and families to kick off the weekend.
In addition, the event will include the traditional Leazes Crititerium races on the Friday night, which in 2011 attracted amateurs and pros alike and featured ad-hoc commentary from star rider Mark Cavendish.
On June 30 more than 4,000 riders are expected to sign up for the Northern Rock Cyclone Challenge 33, 67 and 107 mile rides around Northumberland’s beautiful countryside.
The weekend will finish off in style with the Curlew Cup and Beaumont Trophy women’s and men’s elite races taking place on July 1.
Entries for the weekend will open at the beginning of November.