First Ilkley Town Centre Cycle Races a big hit as thousands line streets

Wharfedale Observer: Ilkley cycle races: Cycling family l to r Francesca, 7, Isabel, 9 and Charlie Maona from Ben Rhydding Ilkley cycle races: Cycling family l to r Francesca, 7, Isabel, 9 and Charlie Maona from Ben Rhydding

WITH just days to go now until the Grand Depart hundreds of spectators turned out to watch Lizzie Armitstead star in the inaugural Ilkley town centre races on Tuesday evening.

Olympic silver medallist Armitstead raced with the men in the main race, which was watched by bumper crowds.

There were four separate races, including one for youths, and several of the riders and spectators had come from overseas, with the Tour de France's Grand Depart taking place on Saturday.

In total more than 150 cyclists took part.

The event was sponsored by AvantiGas and Dan Eadson, Domestic Sales Representative from the company said: “We’re delighted to be the sponsors of the first ever women’s race in Ilkley and to be part of such a memorable event. Supporting Ilkley Cycle Races proved a valuable opportunity for us to meet the community and soak up the fantastic atmosphere ahead of the Tour de France.

“The event was a huge success for AvantiGas and we look forward to more opportunities to support Ilkley Cycling Club in the future."

The evening also boosted Ilkley's economy, with Ilkley Brewery's pop-up bar, Lishman's barbecue and crepe stall augmenting the bars around the circuit, which started and finished on The Grove.

It is hoped that the evening will become an annual event.

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