The Tour of Britain organisers SweetSpot announced on Thursday The Tour Series, a ten-round town and city-centre criterium series for 2009 throughout the United Kingdom.
Taking place throughout late May and June, rounds of The Tour Series will be held on Tuesday and Thursday evenings as a culmination of a festival of cycling-based activities and races that will create a carnival atmosphere at each of the chosen venues. A full list of venues is still to be announced as negotiations with potential hosts are in progress, but the first event will head to Woking.
Organizers plan to build on existing relationships established with venues through their organisation of The Tour of Britain and also develop new partnerships with many of Cycling England's Cycling Towns and Cities across the country. Some of the venues currently in line to host a Tour Series in addition to Woking are Darlington, Derby, Exeter, Milton Keynes, Southport, Stoke-on-Trent and York.
"We look forward to delivering an exciting series of events, and to providing a means for the inspiration of young people around the country," said SweetSpot Executive Hugh Roberts. The Tour Series will be the culmination of a variety of cycling events in each venue, and we hope the festival of cycling created around the elite races will help to attract new people to the sport, and promote cycling as a healthy, sustainable pastime and mode of transport."
The Tour Series will emphasize team performance over individual performance. British professional teams are expected to comprise a majority of the field and organizers are also exploring television coverage options. 10 teams of five riders each are proposed for racing around one to 1.5-kilometre circuits.
"In the 1980s, city centre racing was responsible for an upsurge in the British road cycling scene, and I'm confident that The Tour Series can have a similar effect, and will hopefully help to identify and launch the next generations of British riders," said Technical Director Mick Bennett.
The series has the support of Cycling England and its two main programs Bikeability and Cycling Towns.