The countdown to Leeds’ next moment in the global sporting spotlight has begun – as the full route of the city’s first ever stage of the ITU World Triathlon Series is revealed today.
Some of the world’s greatest endurance athletes will descend on the city to take part in the inaugural Columbia Threadneedle World Triathlon Leeds on Sunday June 12, watched by a TV audience across the globe.
The spectacle will see Leeds join other high-profile host cities like Abu Dhabi, Cape Town and Stockholm as it aims to build on the momentum of hosting the 2014 Tour de France Grand Depart and the Tour de Yorkshire legacy races.
Leeds’ elite races are expected to see homegrown superstars Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee as well as Leeds-based Non Stanford and Vicky Holland take on a world class field in their final event before the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Starting with a 1500metre swim in Roundhay Park’s Waterloo Lake, the world’s best male and female triathletes will then make the transition to their bikes and ride 42.5km through Roundhay, Moortown, Meanwood, Weetwood, Headingley and Woodhouse before completing seven circuits of a city centre loop.
They will then transition in Millennium Square from bikes to their running gear before covering 10km in four shorter laps of the city centre in the race to the finish line on the square.
Olympic triathlon champion Alistair Brownlee, who lives in Bramhope, said: “The route shows what an exciting race the Columbia Threadneedle World Triathlon Leeds will be for spectators.
“The multi-lap bike course goes into the heart of the city centre making it really technical and spectator friendly with plenty of opportunities to watch the racing. With an iconic finish in Millennium Square, it’s going to be brilliant.”
Thousands of people are expected to line the route for the elite race and a mass participation race that will take place along the same route earlier on the same day featuring more than 5,000 amateurs.
Entry is still open for the amateur event in a variety of distances. Visit leeds.triathlon.org/enter_now for details.
The UK Sport National Lottery-funded #EveryRoadtoRio event is being set up by British Triathlon, Lagardère Sports, Leeds City Council and the International Triathlon Union.
Organisers claim that the route has been designed to provide the “best possible spectator experience”, with the athletes passing crowds in the city centre multiple times during the cycling and running elements of the race.
Coun Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council, said: “It will be fantastic to see thousands of people watching the thrilling spectacle as the world’s best including our own home stars do battle on the streets of Leeds in an incredible atmosphere. This promises to be another magnificent event to showcase Leeds to the world, so we can’t wait.”
The scale of the event will see dozens of roads closed on the day of the race. All affected properties are receiving the first of two letters with early details and guidance from today.
Roads around the route are expected to close and be clear of vehicles on June 12 by 5am, and will be closed for a minimum of 12 hours although emergency access for ambulances, health care providers and other agencies will remain.
The day before the event a range of triathlon-related activities will take place in Roundhay Park. For details or to volunteer visit leeds.triathlon.org.