Festival finale wheels back into county

CELEBRATING its 60th year, the prestigious Beaumont Trophy will once again bring Britain’s best cyclists back to Northumberland on Sunday.

The event is part of the 2012 British Cycling Premier Calendar and has attracted some of Britain’s best road cyclists and teams, ensuring it will be a fitting finale for the Virgin Money Cyclone Festival, which starts this evening.

Over the years, the race has seen numerous high profile winners, including Bradley Wiggins, who won the National Road Race Championships at the race in 2011, Chris Newton, Russell Downing, Malcolm Elliot, Don Sanderson and Ray Wetherill.

It starts and finishes in Stamfordham where there will be plenty of opportunity for spectators to come along to the village centre, soak up the atmosphere and watch the action unfold.

The race will get under way at 1pm with three laps of a 22.3-mile circuit that will see the riders tackle the challenging climb of the Ryals before moving onto three laps of the 13.9-mile finishing circuit.

Earlier on in the day, the Curlew Cup will make its debut as part of the British Cycling Women’s National Road Series. The event, sponsored by Northumberland National Park, attracts some of the best riders in the country and uses the same course which hosted the successful 2011 Women’s National Road Race Championships.

The Curlew Cup race starts at 9.30am and will be contested over four laps of a 13.9-mile circuit that includes a testing climb up through Wallridge and on towards Ingoe. The race will pass through the villages of Matfen and Stamfordham four times before finishing in Stamfordham at the end of the fourth lap.

All the latest information on the whole British Cycling Premier Calendar series can be found at www.britishcycling.org.uk/premiercalendar with dedicated Facebook and Twitter feeds to follow too at Facebook.com/premiercalendar and @premiercalendar respectively.

Coverage of the event will be broadcast online at YouTube with links via the official website above.

l PASTA and pedal power are coming together as a Ponteland restaurant sponsors the region’s biggest cycling event for the fifth year running.

Fratelli at Ponteland, along with its sister restaurants Prima and Sabatini in Newcastle, is backing the 2012 Virgin Money Cyclone, which sees international cyclists taking part in various races across Newcastle and Northumberland.

The restaurants, which are owned by brothers-in-law Fabrizio Saba and Paul Bernadelli, have supported various aspects of the event since it began in 2007 and this year they will provide a cash prize and bottle of bubbly for the winner of the Beaumont Trophy U23 competition.

The prize will be awarded for one of the races on Sunday, when more than 140 riders will tackle two gruelling circuits through Matfen and Stamfordham.

Mr Saba said: “Both Paul and I are big fans of cycling and are delighted to be supporting a prestigious event, which not only promotes the sport, but also attracts thousands of visitors and competitors to the North East.”

On Saturday, riders will cycle either 33, 63 or 104 miles through the beautiful Northumberland countryside.