Stage set for OVO Energy Tour Series to thrill the Aberdeen audience
Cycling’s elite will be in the spotlight as the drama of the OVO Energy Tour Series plays out in the heart of the city centre tomorrow – and the Aberdeen crowds will have a starring role to play.
The popular event returns to the north-east for a third year and tomorrow’s competition is again expected to draw thousands of spectators.
Elite riders will go head to head on a 1.3km circuit, with the women’s race starting at 5.30pm and the men in action from 7pm. A packed programme of fun activities and attractions will run from noon as the build-up continues, including the Scottish Cycling age group races featuring local riders throughout the day.
Teams began to gather in the city this afternoon as they prepare for their first glimpse of the refreshed route for 2019, which takes in Broad Street for the first time and will have Marischal College and Marischal Square as a spectacular backdrop for the start and finish line.
Aberdeen City Council Co-Leader Councillor Douglas Lumsden said: “On behalf of the city it’s a pleasure to welcome the OVO Energy Tour Series and we wish all of the teams and riders the very best for what promises to be an action-packed day of racing.
“The event has been taken to the heart of residents who have turned out in force to provide incredible support over the past two years and has also been popular with visitors keen to sample the unique atmosphere this exciting format creates.
“The Tour Series is an integral part of the Council’s wider Aberdeen 365 events strategy, with significant investment changing the cultural outlook of the city and building on our reputation as a destination city.
“This year we have already enjoyed the success of Nuart Aberdeen and with the opening of the redeveloped Aberdeen Art Gallery, the launch of The Event Complex Aberdeen as well as other major projects in the pipeline there is a great deal to look forward to.”
Mick Bennett, Race Director of the OVO Energy Tour Series organising company SweetSpot, said: “Our previous two events in Aberdeen have been a fantastic success and we are sure that the new circuit will prove popular with spectators and riders, while also showcasing the fantastic backdrop of Marischal College.
“The support of Aberdeen City Council and Scottish Cycling will again create an amazing atmosphere and give cyclists young and old the chance to try out the new circuit.”
Track world champion Andy Tennant will be taking his place on the start line for the elite men’s race, representing the Canyon dhb p/b Bloor Homes team, and is looking forward to entertaining the Aberdeen crowd. He said: “We were successful in Aberdeen last year and are looking forward to this round. The sun is shining, the route looks great, we’ve got a strong team and are leading the series – so everything is in place for a great night.
“It was my first time competing in Aberdeen in 2018 and the crowds were fantastic. It really does make a difference to the riders, especially when you’re coming down the home stretch, and you feel the energy from the spectators. The more the merrier this time round, hopefully there will be a big crowd and we’ll be going all out for another win.”
Two-wheeled stunt shows, a pedal powered cinema and cycle skills track are among the attractions on offer on Thursday. Four activity zones around the course will offer a range of hands-on activities.
Marischal Square will house a face painter, the Tour Series merchandise stall as well as interactive cycle activities including the Sustrans pedal powered cinema, University of Aberdeen smoothie bike and also the Get About and Air Quality stalls.
Marischal College Quadrangle will become the Fast Traxx course, where a variety of bikes will be available for riders of all ages to test their skills. The All or Nothing Aerial Dance Theatre will also be staging shows at noon, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm and 4pm as well as offering taster sessions after each performance. Aberdeen Sports Village will be leading an exercise class at 12.15pm and then throughout the day, at quarter past every hour, parent and child activities.
At St Nicholas Street the Clan stunt show will feature head to head competition between two trial stars, with performances at 12.30pm, 2.30pm and 4.30pm.
On Union Bridge, visitors will also be able to tackle a bike obstacle course or try the climbing wall and around the route there will be walkabout street acts as well as Graham Benson’s demonstration on an array of bikes – including a penny farthing and unicycle display.