Stars saddle up for the Cyclone

Joey Barton and Kevin Nolan, who are backing the drive to get people to take part in this year's Northern Rock Cyclone event.
Joey Barton and Kevin Nolan, who are backing the drive to get people to take part in this year's Northern Rock Cyclone event.

TOON stars have urged Northumberland residents to get on their bikes for a special summer event.

The Northern Rock Cyclone weekend includes a challenge ride set to attract 5,000 riders, from families to professionals, on Saturday, June 25.

It features 33, 63 and 104-mile routes, which head out into the Northumberland countryside from Newcastle Falcons’ rugby ground at Kingston Park. With entries now being taken, Newcastle United players have given their backing.

Captain Kevin Nolan said: “This looks like a fantastic event, one all the family can get involved in. All credit to Northern Rock for organising such a tremendous day out.”

Team-mate Joey Barton said: “Get on your bike and keep riding until you drop. What better way to spend the day.”

The weekend begins on the evening of Friday, June 24, with the Leazes Criteriums – a series of thrilling races around Newcastle’s Leazes Park.

On Sunday, June 26, top-class riders will be competing in Northumberland in the National Elite Road Racing Championships. The route goes through Stamfordham and near other villages such as Matfen.

Last year’s field included Emma Pooley, Nicole Cooke, Geraint Thomas and Mark Cavendish.

Northern Rock Cyclone weekend organiser Peter Harrison said: “The Northern Rock Cyclone has grown into a fantastic event in recent years.

“Local people love it and it’s a great chance to show off our beautiful scenery to cyclists from around the country.

“To add the National Elite Road Race Championships to the weekend is a real coup for the region.”

Full details, including routes and details of how you can ride in the Northern Rock Cyclone Challenge, are available at www.northernrockcyclone.co.uk

You can also follow the event on Twitter @nrcyclone and on Facebook.