City centre racing could make a return

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cycling could return to the streets of Sheffield next summer with plans underway to bring a race to the city centre.

The Star understands that a British Cycling Criterium Series race is being pursued by sponsors, while the Council’s Major Sports Events Unit keeps a watching brief on the progress of the bid.

Sheffield and its surrounding region is a hot-bed for cyclists with Rotherham’s Ben Swift and Russell Downing - who both ride for British-based Team Sky - taking part in Grand Tours this year.

Downing’s brother, Dean, was this year’s winner of the criterium series. The 36-year-old, who rides for top British team Rapha Condor Sharp, clinched the title in Preston after dominating the five-race competition from the start.

The criterium is an off-shoot of the old Kelloggs Tour. This year’s races took place in the town centres of Otley in West Yorkshire, Stafford, Abergavenny, Colne in Lancashire and Preston the riders compete over one hour plus five laps of the course.

If the event is brought to Sheffield it is likely to be popular with sports fans, but less so with commuters.

The last major cycle race to end in the city was a stage of the Tour of Britain in 2006. Closure of roads around the city centre led to gridlock during rush hour.

However, the criterium races generally start after 7pm.