The first major legacy investment into cycling facilities across the country has been showcased in Doncaster to mark 50 days to go until the 2019 UCI Road World Championships.
It comes as part of a country-wide campaign to engage people with this once-in-a-generation event and to inspire everyone, from all walks of life, to get on a bike!
The Doncaster Cycle Track is a 1km-long, 6m-wide traffic-free circuit for cyclists of all ages and abilities and will be completed ahead of the Women’s Junior Road Race and Men’s U23 Road Race which start at the new facility on Friday 27 September.
The ribbon was cut by Mayor of Doncaster Ros Jones along with British Cycling President Bob Howden OBE, Yorkshire 2019 CEO Andy Hindley, UK Sport Head of Major Events Esther Britten and Chairman of North Yorkshire County Council Jim Clark.
Joining the dignitaries were three-time Olympic gold medallist Ed Clancy and fellow professional cyclist Graham Briggs. 50 schoolchildren and members of the local community then became the first to cycle the track which will be used by local cycling groups ahead of the Championships.
The track features the world’s only purpose-built, man-made cobbled climb and is expected to attract over 40,000 visitors in its first year alone.
This £1.5 million dedicated community facility has been made possible with funding from Doncaster Council and the Places to Ride programme, delivered in partnership with the Department of Culture Media and Sport, Sport England and British Cycling. The programme supports the development of new and improved cycling facilities across England.
This £15 million nationwide commitment from Government formed part of the successful bid to bring the Championships to Yorkshire and will be delivered over the next three years, ensuring they leave a legacy that will help transform cycling infrastructure right across the country.
As well as new and improved places to ride, British Cycling want to inspire people to ride and to create a legacy in local communities across the country. The cycle track is part of the new #OwnTheRide campaign, which is a nationwide drive led by British Cycling to engage anyone, anywhere with riding a bike. The campaign is supported by free resources that are available now to empower organisations – from schools, local authorities or clubs – to engage people with the Championships and encourage them to create opportunities to be active through cycling.
Nigel Adams, Minister of State for Sport, Media and Creative Industries, said: "Anticipation for the 2019 UCI Road World Championships is building. Tens of thousands of spectators will visit Yorkshire, and millions more from around the world will watch the drama unfold on television as the best cyclists in the world battle it out for the coveted rainbow jerseys.
“We are determined to use these Championships to inspire more people to be active. Backed by a £15 million legacy investment from Government, Doncaster Cycle Track will be the first of many new and exciting facilities to open around the country. These will help ensure this once-in-a-generation event ignites enthusiasm for cycling across the nation.
"Yorkshire has a fantastic global reputation for hosting cycling events and I know the county will put on a fantastic spectacle that promotes the region and North of England to millions and bring in significant economic benefits to the area."
Ed Clancy, three-time Olympic Gold Medallist from Barnsley, said: “Facilities like this one in Doncaster are absolutely critical in ensuring that people from communities of all ages and abilities can embrace cycling in a fun and safe environment.
“The Places to Ride funding programme will ensure that the Championships leave a genuine legacy, not just in Yorkshire but across the whole country. So, whether you’re in the park with your children, doing the commute to work or making use of a local facility, we want people to feel inspired by this once in a generation opportunity and #OwnTheRide this summer.”
Bob Howden OBE, President of British Cycling, said: “Evaluating the success of a major cycling event in the UK, is now a wide-ranging process, which goes far beyond the counting of medals or jerseys won. A key factor in the growth of cycling in Britain has been the inspiration to participation that follows both high profile events and the winning performances of our athletes.
“The staging of the UCI Road World Championships has helped to unlock vital funding for the Places to Ride Programme, which will enable thousands more people to ride a bike at new and improved facilities across the country.
“Our #OwnTheRide campaign will ensure that anyone who feels inspired by our athletes has the opportunity to get involved – regardless of age, or ability and we’re determined that these championships will leave an enduring legacy, enabling increasingly more people to get on their bikes.”
Yorkshire 2019 CEO Andy Hindley said: “Showcasing this new facility today is a fine and fitting way to mark 50 days to go and ties in perfectly with our goal to deliver the most inclusive, innovative and inspiring Championships ever. We really are counting down the days now and by the time the Championships roll around Yorkshire will be awash with rainbows and ready to welcome the world’s best cyclists for this once-in-a-generation event.”
Charles Johnston, Property Director of Sport England, said: “Our job at Sport England is to boost activity levels across the nation and sporting events like the UCI Road World Championships do wonders in raising sports like cycling up the agenda. A huge part of capitalising on that inspiration and momentum is about providing opportunities for people to take part in that sport that are fun, safe and fit into their busy lives.
“Our insight shows us that cycling is a major driver of the nation’s activity habits. That’s why we are delighted to have supported the development of the new Doncaster Cycle Hub to keep people in Doncaster pedalling and accessing the huge benefits of an active lifestyle.”
Esther Britten, Head of Major Events at UK Sport, said: “The UK has established itself as a first-class destination for major sporting events and the 2019 UCI Road World Championships is the latest example of this. It’s fantastic to be in Doncaster to see first-hand the wider community and legacy benefits which hosting a major sports event can create. We can’t wait to help welcome the world to Yorkshire and showcase the power of sport to bring communities and the nation together.
“The UK is building a reputation for our knowledgeable and passionate fans alongside our first-class sporting venues and as the government’s specialist major event agency, our National Lottery funded event programme is designed to make sure the country continues to attract the biggest sporting occasions.”
Mayor of Doncaster Council Ros Jones said: “We’re delighted this incredible cycling facility in Doncaster will provide a lasting legacy from the Championships. This track strengthens our borough as a cycling hub and encourages everyone from all ages to get into sport and get active. This facility will not only be used by our residents, but will welcome visitors from afar, and is another fantastic asset to our borough which will generate tourism and boost our economy.”
About the 2019 UCI Road World Championships
- The UCI Road World Championships have only been held in Great Britain on three previous occasions, the most recent of which was at Goodwood in 1982. The 2019 Championships will take place in Yorkshire between 22-29 September.
- The celebrations will begin on Saturday 21 September when - for the very first time - a UCI-sanctioned, one-day international para-cycling event will take place ahead of the Championships. The Yorkshire 2019 Para-Cycling International will act as a qualifier for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games and welcome entries from every Paralympic road racing classification.
- The Championships commence on the Sunday with the maiden Mixed Team Time Trial Relay and the programme continues through to Sunday 29 September with Individual Time Trials and Road Races for Junior (17/18 years), Under 23 and Elite male and female riders.
- Approximately 1,400 riders are set to compete from 90 countries and the action will be beamed to a global TV audience of over 250 million.
About Sport England
Sport England is a public body and invests up to £300 million National Lottery and government money each year in projects and programmes that help people get active and play sport. It wants everyone in England, regardless of age, background, or level of ability, to feel able to engage in sport and physical activity. That’s why a lot of its work is specifically focused on helping people who do no, or very little, physical activity and groups who are typically less active - like women, disabled people and people on lower incomes.