On Thursday 14th May, the Island will host the first round of the Pearl Izumi Tour Series – a leading televised cycle race – with the UK’s leading cyclists competing in a fast-paced road race around a 1.2km street circuit in Ryde.
The town centre will be transformed into a high-speed, professional circuit where top-class cyclists will battle it out at speeds of around 30mph in front of packed crowds to gain pole-position on the coveted winners’ podium.
To make the roads race-quality, Island Roads have undertaken a series of works including the resurfacing of The Esplanade and Melville Street, followed by the partial resurfacing of Dover Street. They are also currently undertaking 18 days of full reconstruction work in Cross Street (pictured right).
Island Echo readers have expressed confusion as to why a section of Dover Street on the race route (pictured below) has not been resurfaced – but Island Roads say that although full resurfacing will not occur, treatment of this section of road – and Union Street – will take place soon.
A spokesperson for Island Roads said:
“The roads in the area are not uniformly constructed and therefore the same treatments cannot be applied to all stretches of the road.
“Dover Street is one such example where part of the road is constructed of concrete. This section requires additional work which could not have been completed before the start of the cycle event. The road will therefore be given a different temporary treatment that will repair and seal some of the concrete to ensure it is in a suitable condition for the race.
“Both this section of Dover Street and Union Street (which is similarly constructed) will undergo more significant works at a later stage in the contractual programme, when the works can be managed over a longer timeframe and timed to avoid other works in the busy town centre area.
“A full review of the site has been undertaken with the event organisers to ensure that the necessary standards are secured in advance of the event. Island Road staff will undertake pre-event inspections to ensure that the carriageway condition is suitable for the event”.
Races and activities will be held throughout the day from 12:30 for local school children aged 10 and 11, followed by an afternoon of support races with keen local cyclists, ahead of the professionals taking to the circuit from 15:00 for the Tour Series Team Time Trial.
The exciting Tour Series Race starts at 19:30 giving spectators a close-up view of the athletes as they race from the start/finish line on The Esplanade, then a challenging climb up Union Street before going along Cross and Melville Streets to the big downhill on Dover Street that heads back down to The Esplanade.
The Team Race, open to nine teams comprising of four cyclists, is a highly popular and competitive event. Registered entrants have the chance to ‘test their mettle’ around the circuit and against the clock. The team with the fastest lap times will be presented with winners’ medals on the professional podium.
David Thornton, CEO, Visit Isle of Wight, said:
“We’re delighted to have the first leg of this elite race series, which should provide a boost to the local economy with lots of visitors coming to watch the race.
“Additionally, the TV exposure on ITV4 will help us to showcase Bicycle Island across the UK as a premium cycle holiday destination.”
Paul Herbert, Island Roads Service Director said:
“This is an important event for the Island not just on the day itself but for the potential it has to profile the Isle of Wight as a cycling destination. We are working hard to ensure that the roads that form the race circuit in Ryde are in the best condition for the cyclists taking part and, at the same time, that we continue our work to improve roads across the Island for cyclists and indeed all road users for many years to come”.