Pro cycling

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Tips and stories from Olympic Cyclists

Chris Boardman

Chris Boardman

Chris Boardman, legendary Olympic and triple World Champion cyclist, shares with us his memories on how he got started in cycling and gives us his tips on how to get your kids onto two wheels successfully.

1. Cycling as a pastime and as a sport is increasingly popular. Is there one thing you would like to see Government doing to help cycling?
[CB] I attended a government launch recently to help promote even more cycling to work, the fact that 4 crown ministers were present shows the level of positive change we are seeing. The cycle to work scheme has had a huge impact on people using bikes as transport and I’m glad the government is seeing rewards for making an effort.
The big scary hurdle for them is the allocation of road space. In most places this is fixed and however you want to cut it, a choice has to be made as to who gets priority, cars or bikes. When they take down the first ‘cyclists dismount’ sign and replace it with one saying ‘car drivers give way to cyclists’ they will have cracked it. Whoever does that will get my vote.

2. What made you choose Halfords as a partner?
[CB] The partnership with Halfords was years in the crafting and we are delighted with it. It allows us to do so much more than we could via any other route. For example, we have been able to bring very high quality bikes, of the specification we wanted to achieve, to a lot more people than via other routes to market, for an awesome price, which is a pretty fantastic combination.
Seeing the top reviews we receive in pretty much every independent review we put the bikes up for is testimony to this being a winning formula and it gives the customer real confidence to buy too.

3. How involved in the bike design are you?
[CB] Very, I have the right of sign off on every single nut and bolt, I am involved from the choosing of frame geometry, through selection of finishing kits, I almost always try every component that goes on our bikes. (In fact I’m just back from Italy where I have been testing both road and MTB components). Sometimes I recognise that there are others with greater expertise than me - such as in MTB suspension set up’s and in those cases I seek out the best experts. We have a great team that I really enjoy working with and we all bring something to the mix.

Nicole Cooke

Nicole Cooke

Even Olympic and world champions have to start somewhere and Beijing golden girl Nicole Cooke is no exception! Nicole won Team GB`s first gold medal at the 2008 Olympics when she raced to victory in the gruelling women`s road race. She then topped this just a month later by winning the world championship title.

"I was just four years old when I first learned to ride a bike. I began in the back garden and practised in the local park so I could have a soft landing on grass if I fell off!" says Nicole. "My dad helped me with tips and encouragement but balance and steering only come with practice!" Nicole was just 11 when she won her first race in the Welsh Cyclo Cross Championships. "Until then I`d been coming 4th or 5th so it was a big surprise to win but it really spurred me on to train more and get stronger. Going out cycling with my family helped a lot - it made cycling fun and made me want to carry on."

Nicole is a champion at the peak of her cycling career but believes everyone can benefit from getting on a bike. "It`s a whole body work-out that can be done at a family friendly pace so everyone can get involved. The health benefits of even cycling moderately are great but it also helps me clear my head and forget any worries. It still gives me a total sense of freedom and a great buzz!"

Her advice to parents is to keep it fun, be patient and aim to cycle together as a family to give kids confidence and practice. "If it`s fun, children are more likely to want to get involved. Make sure they`ve got the right bike for their height and ensure they wear a helmet too," she says.

"The best advice I can give to kids is from my own experience. Cycling gives you the freedom to explore new places and get out and about with your friends and as long as you cycle safely, it`s a great adventure!"

Nicole now has her sights set firmly on the 2012 London Olympics when she hopes to repeat her gold medal winning success of last year. "Even though I`m a champion, I still get out on my bike and ride every day to ensure that I stay at the top of my fame and I really enjoy it too!"

Nicole`s book "Cycle For Life" is published by Kyle Cathie Ltd and is available through most bookshops and websites such as Amazon.

Third season of The Halfords Tour Series ready to race!

28th April 2011

Halfords Tour Series

Two new venues join the unique team based, city centre cycling series in 2011

The third season of The Halfords Tour Series includes an eight round calendar. Two new venues will join the Series alongside a host of returning cyclists that fans will now be familiar with

Aberystwyth will become the first Welsh venue to host The Series, while Oldham will represent Greater Manchester. Returning to the calendar for a third year are Stoke-on-Trent, Peterborough and Woking, while the tough cobbled climbs of Durham make a second appearance. Colchester also returns, having hosted a round of the hugely successful inaugural Series in 2009. The races will come to a conclusion amidst the skyscrapers of Canary Wharf, where the champion team will be crowned.

Commenting on the announcement of the 2011 Halfords Tour Series, Andy Brotherton of Halfords said;

"As the largest bicycle retailer in Britain we want to help drive the sport of cycling wherever we can. Bringing The Halfords Tour Series to two new towns will further cement this unique style of team racing into The Series’ heritage. The Halfords Tour Series is more than an elite series. The event showcases some of our finest home-grown athletes and brings the sport to the attention of the wider public. We hope this exposure will inspire more people to get cycling."

Mick Bennett, Technical Director of The Halfords Tour Series said;

"We are very happy to be able to announce the eight venues that will hold a round of The Halfords Tour Series this season. The fact that we have two new venues joining the Series, and others like Colchester, returning to the calendar shows the popularity of the exciting, and unique, team based format.From Durham to Canary Wharf we can once again expect a thrilling and action packed four weeks of racing from Britain’s top professional cycling teams. This year The Halfords Tour Series really is too close to call, so spectators at all eight rounds should expect to see some more of the very close and exciting racing with which the Series has become synonymous."

The full 2011 Halfords Tour Series calendar is as follows:

Round One Tuesday 24th May Durham
Round Two Thursday 26th May Aberystwyth
Round Three Tuesday 31st May Peterborough
Round Four Thursday 2nd June Colchester
Round Five Tuesday 7th June Stoke-on-Trent
Round Six Thursday 9th June Oldham
Round Seven Tuesday 14th June Woking
Round Eight Thursday 16th June Canary Wharf

The new-for-2011 Johnson Health Tech Women’s Grand Series will take place at half the rounds, bring top-class women’s racing to The Series for the first time. Races will be held at Peterborough, Stoke-on-Trent, Oldham and Woking where spectators will see some of Britain’s top female cyclists in action.

Full details of each individual round will be announced over the coming weeks as The Halfords Tour Series counts down to a spectacular first race at Durham on Tuesday 24th May. The first riders to pull on the five iconic Halfords orange leader’s jerseys will be crowned winners.

Teams announced for 2011 Halfords Tour Series

14 Mar 2011

Ten top teams to do battle in action packed televised Series

SweetSpot Group are pleased to announce the identities of the ten teams who will take part in The Halfords Tour Series 2011, the unique team-based televised city centre cycling series.

Defending Champions Motorpoint Pro Cycling lead the entry with a squad containing Ian Bibby and Malcolm Elliott, who both won individual rounds of the Series in 2010. Last season’s runners up Endura Racing return with a strengthened line-up containing four round winners plus riders from Germany, New Zealand and Australia, while Rapha – Condor – Sharp will be looking to improve on their third place finishes in each of the past two seasons of The Halfords Tour Series.

"We are in our third year of The Halfords Tour Series and this looks to be the strongest line-up of teams and riders yet, which bodes well for the future of domestic cycling" said Series Director Mick Bennett.

"Spectators can look forward to seeing some of Britain’s top cyclists in action in their town or city during the Series, including several who will be in action at the London Olympics in 2012."

New additions to the Series are Twenty3c – Orbea, Wilier – and Team UK Youth, the latter of whom are led by former Paris Roubaix winner Magnus Backstedt.

The full list of teams is as follows: – Metaltek, Endura Racing, Motorpoint Pro Cycling, Pendragon – Le Col – Colnago, Rapha – Condor – Sharp, Sigma Sport – Specialized, Team Raleigh, Team UK Youth, Twenty3c – Orbea and Wilier –

In all Series organisers and promoters SweetSpot received thirteen applications for spots in the Series. In a new addition to the highly successful Halfords Tour Series, the three teams who were unsuccessful will all be offered the opportunity to ride a week of the 2011 Series as guests in a bid to help their future development and give their sponsors valuable exposure.

These three squads are Felt – Colbournes Racing Team, Team Corley Cycles and Team Herbalife Wheelbase, who will all invited to enter upto two rounds of the Series.

"We would like to thank all the teams who applied to enter the Series for the time and effort put into their presentations," says Bennett.

"It was a very close and hard decision as to who the final ten teams should be; hence our decision that we should give the three unsuccessful teams the opportunity to still be a part of The Halfords Tour Series. Ultimately though we have chosen the ten teams which we believe will be the strongest and best represented in 2011 and have every confidence that they will put on a close and action packed display of racing across the Series."

The participating teams for the Johnson Health Tech Women’s Grand Prix Series will be announced in due course.

Following the success of the Vitesse jerseys and clothing range at the 2010 Tour of Britain, SweetSpot Group are also delighted to announce that Pro Vision Clothing will also provide the same high-quality Vitesse clothing to The Halfords Tour Series, including the iconic five orange Halfords leader’s jerseys and the Boardman Bikes Sprint Jersey. Vitesse jerseys will also be worn by the leading rider in the Johnson Health Tech Women’s Grand Prix Series.

"Vitesse Pro Cycling wear are delighted to be clothing suppliers to the 2011 Halfords Tour Series," said Steve Joughin of Pro Vision Clothing. "Vitesse was launched in the UK in October 2009 by Pro Vision at the London Cycle Show. With over 21 years’ experience in manufacturing bespoke clothing for some of the World’s major bike brands and Pro Teams Vitesse has taken off in a big way on to the UK Market, with top quality clothing, fast lead times and very competitive pricing, making them an ideal fit for The Halfords Tour Series."

Full details of The Halfords Tour Series and supporting Johnson Health Tech Women’s Grand Prix Series will be announced over the course of the next month.

For more information on the Series or for up to the minute news follow the Series on Twitter:

Halfords Tour Series 2011 - Johnson Health Tech Women’s Grand Prix Series to take to the streets

8 Mar 2011

Four Round Women’s Series to support The Halfords Tour Series in 2011

An elite circuit series for Britain’s elite female cyclists has been launched to support the already well-established Halfords Tour Series. SweetSpot Group and Johnson Health Tech UK Ltd are pleased to announce the Johnson Health Tech Women’s Grand Prix Series.

The Johnson Health Tech Women’s Grand Prix Series will see Britain’s best female road cyclists compete in an action packed four round Series in May and June. The venues will be announced at The Halfords Tour Series’ official launch in April.

The development of the four event Series follows the success of last year’s Horizon Fitness Women’s Grand Prix which was part of the Stoke-on-Trent round of the Series

Commenting on the announcement, Jon Johnston, MD of Johnson Health Tech UK said; "As a company that actively encourages participation in exercise, physical activity, and competitive sport, we are delighted to have the opportunity to support this initiative. It’s a great time for women’s cycling, and with the Olympics just around the corner, and the ongoing focus on sport, health, and wellbeing, we hope that the Grand Prix Series will inspire more people to literally get on their bikes and become more active."

The Johnson Health Tech Women’s Grand Prix Series will see the top podium spot going to the best individual rider across the four rounds, while a winning team will also be crowned after the completion of the final round.

Commenting on the development of The Halfords Tour Series, and the addition of the Johnson Health Tech Women’s Grand Prix Series, Lynn Hayzelden of Halfords said: "As the largest bicycle retailer in Britain we want to help drive the sport of cycling wherever we can. The Halfords Tour Series is more than an elite series. The event showcases some of our finest home-grown athletes and brings the sport to the attention of the wider public. We hope this exposure will inspire more people to get cycling. Britain has great cycling heritage and the world’s eyes will be on our athletes in the run up to next year’s Olympics. Who knows, the next generations of Bradley Wiggins Sir Chris Hoy or Victoria Pendleton may be inspired by witnessing first-hand the excitement of the Series."

Event organisers, SweetSpot Group, are currently finalising both team entrants and venue partners with the full launch of the Series to be confirmed in April. Series Director, Mick Bennett, commented; "We are now at the final stages of negotiations with both existing and new venue partners. All of the team entrants are in and we are applying the finishing touches to the other elements. I am looking forward to officially launching the Halfords Tour Series, now in its third year, in April. The event continues to grow and the launch of the Johnson Health Tech Women’s Grand Prix Series is a superb addition. I am sure 2011 will be spectacular."

For more information on the Series or for up to the minute news follow the Series on Twitter:

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