New cash to help keep bike race in Redditch

By Ian Dipple Friday 25 April 2014 Updated: 25/04 08:54

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Buy photos » The Pearl Izumi Tour Series is returning to Redditch later this year and the fourth stage of the Matrix Fitness Grand Prix will also be staged in the town. Picture by Marcus Mingins 2313018MMR8

ELITE cycling looks set to continue in Redditch for at least another year thanks to an injection of new government money.

The Pearl Izumi Tour Series is set to take place in the town for what looked like the third and final time on Tuesday, June 3 as funding for Worcestershire County Council's Choose How You Move Project - aimed at getting residents walking, cycling and using public transport more - comes to an end.

But the Department of Transport has announced it is giving another £110,000 to continue the project, part of which will be used to continue to fund the Tour Series event. Organisers behind the race hope to supplement the funding with sponsorship from businesses to keep the race in the town on a long-term basis.

The race attracts some of the top cyclists from across Britain and the world including Olympic gold medallist Ed Clancy. It brings tens of thousands of people into the town and has added thousands of pounds to the local economy over the last two years.

For the second year running Redditch is also hosting a stage of the women's elite series the Matrix Fitness Grand Prix.

A spokesman for Worcestershire County Council said as well as the cycle race the money would be spent on engaging with young people and residents, access to information, marketing and monitoring.

"We're committed to continuing and expanding the work already undertaken to encourage walking, cycling and passenger transport use in Redditch to reduce single car occupancy and improve health."

The Government has already ploughed £2.8million into the project. Analysis of the impact of the scheme in its first year shows the number of people driving between 5,000 and 9,999 miles has fallen but risen slightly for those travelling by car over 10,000 miles or more. But 13 per cent of those surveyed acknowledge some of their car journeys can be made by bicycle, with 30 per cent better informed about bus services and 36.8 per cent more familiar with cycle routes.

Significantly there has been almost a 44 per cent rise in people saying they have tried to cut back on driving and intend to continue to do so and a 34.4 per cent fall in those saying they are not bothered about finding alternative ways to travel.

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