At each Tour of Britain stage finish this week, school and club teams are putting on a warm-up act for the crowds prior to the big race finish.
Almost 200 youngsters aged 11 and 12 are taking part in Italian Pursuit races bidding for the title of Club Champion and School Champion.
The competition is part of British Cycling's Go Ride programme which works with local communities and schools across the country, introducing pupils to the cycle sport with a mixture of fun and skills tests. Go Ride can be the first step towards Olympic team selection.
Quality coaching is available for those who show an aptitude for the sport. Each of the young teams in the Tour of Britain events ride the stage most local to them. It was York on Saturday, Newcastle Gateshead yesterday (Sunday), and Gretna Green (today, Monday). It's Tuesday in Blackpool, Wednesday in Stoke on Trent, Thursday in Bideford, Friday in Yeovil and Saturday for the London final.The best teams of the week get to meet a GB cycling team rider.
John Mills, Coaching, Education and Development Director at British Cycling, says: “Over the last six years Go-Ride has become a regular fixture at the Tour of Britain. “It provides youngsters with a fantastic opportunity to compete on a big stage, experience the thrill of elite road racing and brush shoulders with some of the world’s best cyclists."
He added he hoped it would inspire them to take up racing, and also introduced their friends and families to a great day out watching some of the biggest cycling heroes in action.
“With Go-Ride coaches, schools and clubs located across the country, British Cycling is working with local communities to develop the sport and find the cycling stars of tomorrow,” said Mills.
For more information about Go-Ride or to find a Go-Ride affiliated school or club in your area, please visit www.britishcycling.org.uk .
• An Italian pursuit is usually for four-man teams held over four laps of a track. The lead rider drops out at the end of his lap lap until one rider is left to race for the line, much the same as in the Team Sprint for three man teams over three laps.
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Keith Bingham joined the Cycling Weekly team in the summer of 1971, and retired in 2011. During his time, he covered numerous Tours de France, Milk Races and everything in-between. He was well known for his long-running 'Bikewatch' column, and played a pivotal role in fighting for the future of once at-threat cycling venues such as Hog Hill and Herne Hill Velodrome.
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