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By Ian Dipple Wednesday 04 June 2014 Updated: 06/06 09:32
A MAJOR fund-raising campaign is underway to secure the return of elite cycling to Redditch after another night of high drama.
Frenchman Matthieu Boulo secured his first win for Team Raleigh in round seven of the Pearl Izumi Tour Series, but it was the team of Rapha Condor JLT that had the most to celebrate as three of their riders finished in the top five, including Olympic gold medallist Ed Clancy.
As a result they have now stretched their lead at the top of the standings to 12 points.
It was a surprise result even for Clancy who has previously confessed to hating the course due to the gruelling climb up Unicorn Hill.
"It was a combination of the fact I felt really good, I'm obviously fresh and feeling better than I have been and hit a bit of good form," he said.
"I still hate the circuit but it was a good result."
Prior to the men's race it was the turn of the women in round four of the Matrix Fitness Grand Prix. There was heartbreak for Charline Joiner who missed out on not only her first win but top spot in the rankings after crashing on the wet roads in the final corner, taking
Helen Wyman out in the process as the duo were preparing to sprint for the line.
Wiggle Honda's Amy Roberts was the beneficiary to claim victory.
In the end Joiner limped home in fifth place and told the Standard: "It's not a corner where you expect to fall because it's not that sharp but I took myself out basically. I was leading the sprint and it's really frustrating because it could have been my first ever win on the road so I'm really disappointed."
Earlier in the day the crowds had been entertained by a series of schools and business races while there was also a one lap time trial for members of Redditch Road and Path Club.
The event was opened by Pat Bradshaw, widow of Richard Bradshaw a Redditch Sustrans Ranger who passed away in January and was a driving force behind improving cycling routes across Redditch.
The crowds were also entertained with performances by pupils from St George's First School's samba dance group, a scooter parade by Roman Way First School and cheerleading by Matchborough First School children.
Despite the wet weather it is expected this year's event at least matched the 12,000 people who turned out in 2013.
But the future of the Redditch race is uncertain as this year's event was the last to be funded by Worcestershire County Council's £2.8million Choose How you Move project.
The Government has provided £110,000 partly to help secure the return of the Tour Series but it will still require support from town businesses.
Coun John Smith OBE, responsible for highways on the county council, said they were doing everything they could to secure the necessary funding.
"We have a small amount of money we can work with businesses and partners to promote it for at least the next two years but that support is going to be absolutely crucial and we want to talk to as many businesses as possible and Redditch Borough Council to help us continue this fantastic event in Redditch."
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