Two of the hottest prospects in North East cycling will have ringside seats when the exciting Pearl Izumi cycling tour series returns to Durham City this week.

Rhianna Stoves, 15, from Hexham and 16-year-old Matthew Worton from Stockton have been invited to attend the event as special VIP guests and run the rule over the world class riders and teams taking part. The Durham stage of the national tour, hosted by Durham County Council in partnership with race organisers SweetSpot and sponsors Pearl Izumi, takes place on 27 May.

Rhianna, of Derwentside Cycling Club, trains for seven hours a week on all terrain across the county to compete in road racing, cyclo-cross and mountain bike races. She won the North East Cyclo-Cross and the mountain bike under 16’s leagues this year and finished second in the mountain bike nationals at Cathkin Brae in Scotland – the course that will be used for the commonwealth games.

Rhianna said: “I’m excited about The Tour Series in Durham and having a VIP spot to watch. I’m looking forward to seeing the riders and experience the atmosphere of The Tour.”

Matthew started cycling at just four years old and now competes in cyclo-cross junior races for the Blackhawk Bikes team in Stockton. He was recently picked for the Great Britain cycling team that contested a Cyclo-Cross World Cup race in Belgium. He trains in Stockton and Durham for between eight and ten hours a week both on and off road.

Matthew said: “I’m looking forward to The Tour Series in Durham because it’s a great chance to watch good quality races and good quality riders locally.”

Nigel Dodds, strategic manager for culture and sport said: “We’re very excited about the tour returning to Durham and are delighted to play a part in encouraging the next generation of cycling in the North East. Seeing world class athletes pitting themselves and their state of the art bikes against the ancient cobbled streets of Durham City is a really unique experience and we hope that people turn out in force to enjoy this free event.”

The Durham stage is the fifth round of the Pearl Izumi Tour Series and seen as the hardest for the professional riders due to its steep climbs, narrow streets and tight turns, leading it to be described as “purgatory”. Events building up to the race start at 5.00pm on 27 May with the racing getting underway at 7.00pm.

You can find a circuit map from Ordnance Survey.

And don’t forget it you are coming along on Tuesday night, you can make use of the park and stride at both County Hall and Howlands park and ride for the race for free, see a map of the car parks.