Who needs the Champs-Elysées when we’ve got our own Grand Arrivée on Pinstone Street? The annual Sheffield Hallam University Grand Prix attracts world-class athletes to Sheffield's city centre. This July, the Grand Prix is playing host to the HSBC UK National Circuit Championships, a high-tempo evening of criterium racing on Wednesday 19 July.
Criterium races – for those who don’t know their pedal from their peleton – are fast, tough, exciting events, where riders compete over a number of laps or within a set time. Spectators can gather outside the Town Hall, pick up refreshments, browse stalls and watch serious cyclists get in the zone before they whizz off on the race.
Competitors: entries are now open – good luck! Spectators: here’s a few insider tips from Sheffield Grand Prix organiser Marc Etches.
Where’s your best tip to see the action?
The best place to see the action is on Pinstone Street, but everyone will want to see the finish line. A great spot to see a fast corner is at the end of Pinstone Street where the road turns on to Furnival Gate, and Surrey Street is great, where the riders tackle the cobbled section of road.
Everyone likes a statistic; tell us, what kind of speeds will the riders be reaching in the race?
We expect the riders to average close to 30mph for an hours racing. The top speeds will come as the race heads down to Furnival Gate where riders will be racing down at over 35mph.
Cycling has always been a popular sport in Sheffield and the region. If money was no object, how would you improve things for cyclists in the area?
For me, as a cycle coach, it would be to build an indoor velodrome facility in the city. The only way to breed future Tour de France winners is to start youngsters on the track. Velodromes create a wealth of talent that is hard to recognise when riding on the road. We need to find the next Bradley Wiggins or Victoria Pendleton – I’m sure we have one in Sheffield!