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Urban race cycling on Leeds cobbles as Tour de France nears

Christian Townsley, owner of the Cross Keys pub at the Round Foundry, Holbeck, gears up for the Morv�lo CityCross. Picture by Simon Dewhurst

Christian Townsley, owner of the Cross Keys pub at the Round Foundry, Holbeck, gears up for the Morv�lo CityCross. Picture by Simon Dewhurst

Narrow cobbled streets, man-made obstacles and tight corners stand in the way of riders tackling Leeds’ first ever CityCross.

As cycling fever races through Yorkshire ahead of the county hosting the Tour de France Grand Depart on July 5 and 6, an alternative two-wheeled spectacle is on starter’s orders in Holbeck Urban Village.

The textured surfaces of the area, which is home to the offices of Tour bidders Welcome to Yorkshire, will host the inaugural Morvélo CityCross on Saturday June 14 from 11am.

Inspired by Belgium’s national sport of cyclo-cross, the race combines a short 20-minute bike route, music, Belgian beer, art, clothing and cycling stalls.

The race came about when specialist developer Igloo Regeneration Partnership approached cycling experts Morvélo Bicycle Apparel.

Igloo’s development director Paul Simmons said: “What makes the places we work in special is that we create spaces where people can come together and the growing Holbeck Urban Village community is a great example of that.”

Christian Townsley, 39, an owner of the Cross Keys pub, first suggested the idea and will compete in the novice category. He said: “I think it’s a fantastic opportunity to showcase the architecture and the setting that the cycling event will happen in.”

Hundreds of spectators are expected to attend the one-day event, which will host 50 participants in each of six race categories including under 12s, novices, women only and seniors. The area’s pubs will create a festival feel on the day, while the nearby Doubletree by Hilton hotel is offering special rates for June 13 and 14.

Visit www.citycross.co.uk for details or to enter.

 

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