A selection of the world’s finest para-cyclists will be heading for Wetherby this weekend as they take part in the Yorkshire 2019 Para-Cycling championships.
The event to be held on Saturday afternoon (September 21) will see 26 races all being held on the same day, taking in three start locations including Wetherby, with all of the races heading through the town on their way to the finish line in Harrogate.
The event marks the first time ever para-cycling races have taken place alongside the long-awaited UCI Road World Championships, which then follow in Yorkshire from the following day (Sunday September 22) to September 29.
With race starts in Wetherby, Tadcaster and Beverley, the Yorkshire 2019 Para-Cycling International will feature men’s and women’s time trial races across all four para-cycling classifications. The riders will go through Wetherby from about 1.30pm on the way to Harrogate, with the results counting towards qualification for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
Among the leading names starting their race at the Market Place in Wetherby are Australia’s Carol Cooke, who claimed two rainbow jerseys with victories at the UCI Para-Cycling Road World Championships held in Holland last week, as well as other newly-crowned world champions Hans-Peter Durst and Annika Zeyen of Germany.
Top British riders starting in Wetherby include Leeds-based Paralympian David Stone MBE, along with other leading contenders Craig Collis-McCann and Hannah Dines.
Of the field coming through Wetherby, the start list features Britain’s most successful ever female Paralympian Dame Sarah Storey, who added two more world titles to her legendary career haul last week.
Also in the field are Paralympics gold medallists Adam Duggleby MBE and Stephen Bate MBE, along with Ireland’s Katie-George Dunlevy and pilot Eve McCrystal, who won gold and silver medals at the recent world championships.
The route through Wetherby takes in Wighill Lane, Rudgate, York Road, North Street, High Street, Market Place, Westgate and Spofforth Hill, with the focal point being the Wetherby start location on Market Place.
A range of activities organised by Wetherby Town Council and Leeds City Council will be taking place throughout the day to support the race action.
Starting at 10am, there will be music performances and entertainment at the Horsefair Centre, while the Market Place will see all those racers starting in Wetherby being introduced as they sign on before taking to the startline.
A big screen at Market Place will be relaying all the action from the races live, while a family fun and sports zone will be running from 10am-4pm at the fairground off Westgate.
Free activities on offer there will include British Cycling junior activity, wheelchair and mini-tennis; Boccia; adapted table tennis, physical activity information stalls and information on Open Country as well as being the location for the UK Sport cheer station.
Leader of Leeds City Council Councillor Judith Blake said: “We have been counting down the days to this Saturday, with the Yorkshire 2019 Para-Cycling International starting an amazing nine days of world-class sport and cycling in our county.
“Seeing these incredible athletes in action on our roads is going to fantastic, so we cannot wait for the action to get underway with these para-cycling races coming through Wetherby in what I’m sure will be another wonderful occasion as our city again showcases itself to the world.”
Yorkshire 2019 Chief Executive Andy Hindley said: “We’re delighted to have attracted so many world-class riders for the Yorkshire 2019 Para-Cycling International and we can’t wait to see them in action.
“Many of them will be in peak condition after the UCI Para-Cycling Road World Championships in Emmen last week, and this Saturday they’ll receive a warm Yorkshire welcome in front of one of the largest crowds ever assembled for an elite para-cycling event.
“Hosting these races alongside the UCI Road World Championships was absolutely essential to us as we want them to be the most inclusive, innovative and inspiring championships ever.
“The trophies the winners will receive also look pretty spectacular too and I’m sure they’ll be treasured keepsakes from a truly memorable day.”
Highlights of the racing will be screened on BBC Two from 1pm on Sunday as part of the live coverage of the Team Trial Mixed Relay event which will kick off the UCI Road World Championships.
The current start lists and timings for every race at the Yorkshire 2019 Para-Cycling International can be found at Yorkshire2019.co.uk/para and on the Yorkshire 2019 App.
Live traffic and travel plus road closure information for the Yorkshire 2019 Para-Cycling International in Leeds for the can be found via https://www.leeds.gov.uk/parking-roads-and-travel/roadworks-and-closures with further event information available at Yorkshire2019.co.uk/para and on the Yorkshire 2019 App.