The OVO Energy Tour Series will head to Redditch once again this year, with the Worcestershire town hosting a round of Britain’s leading televised circuit race series for the seventh year in succession on Thursday 10 May.

Elite men’s and women’s races will take place on the same 0.9-mile (1.4km) Town Centre circuit that has been used since 2012, a testing course that features the challenging climb of Unicorn Hill to end. However, for the first time, Redditch will also host the Brother Corporate Grand Prix as part of a day of exciting two-wheeled events.

Local rider Beth Crumpton (Storey Racing) and Morvélo Basso’s Ben Manfield joined dignitaries from event supporters Worcestershire County Council and Redditch Borough Council in the town to launch this year’s round.

“I am delighted to be back launching the Redditch OVO Energy Tour Series,” said Beth Crumpton. “As a local girl it is great to race on home turf. So many people were calling my name here last year – it really gives you the energy to push to go faster. I can’t wait to see what 2018 has to offer.”

Ben Manfield added: “I’ve not raced on this circuit before, so I’m looking forward to this year’s OVO Energy Tour Series. My team-mates have told me a lot about it; many have said it’s the best circuit of the whole series, with riders needing to possess skill and strength to do well on it.”

Last year’s races proved to be an indicator for how the series would progress: both men’s and women’s champions – JLT Condor and Drops respectively – won in Redditch en route to claiming the overall title.

Race Director Mick Bennett said: “We’re thrilled to be returning to Redditch for the seventh year in succession – the crowds are always fantastic and the challenging nature of the circuit makes for exciting racing.”

Morvélo Basso’s Ben Manfield and local rider Beth Crumpton (Storey Racing) helped launch the Redditch round of this year’s OVO Energy Tour Series.

Councillor Ken Pollock, Cabinet member with responsibility for the Economy and Infrastructure at Worcestershire County Council added: “We are so pleased to be bringing the Tour Series back to the county for the seventh year. The event has really been embraced by Redditch and we have seen visitor numbers grow year on year, as well as seeing great economic benefits to the local area. The event is a great showcase for the county, increasing tourism, supporting local business and increasing community interest in cycling – another great example of World Class Worcestershire being Open for Business.”

Lyndsey Berry from Redditch Borough Council, added: “This is a great event for Redditch and I’m pleased that we are hosting it again. I am particularly happy to see even more community involvement now, with local businesses invited to join in the fun and riders going into local schools.

“You only have to see the crowds that flock to the town when it’s on to understand the excitement and opportunities it brings for a lot of people.”

This year’s OVO Energy Tour Series isn’t the only notable sporting event to take place in Worcestershire this year: Stage Four of the OVO Energy Women’s Tour will take place entirely in the county on Saturday 16 June. Visit www.womenstour.co.uk for more information.