The Scottish rounds of the Pearl Izumi Tour Series in Motherwell and Edinburgh have been officially launched along with further details of both events, which will welcome some of Britain’s top male and female cyclists to race in Scotland.

Motherwell will begin the week on Tuesday 17 May hosting the opening round of the women’s series, plus a men’s race on the same 1.2-kilometre Hamilton Road circuit as in 2015 (view the circuit map here), before Edinburgh returns to the Pearl Izumi Tour Series on Thursday 19 May with an event based around the Grassmarket and Edinburgh Castle.

The race will take place on a new, 1.6-kilometre circuit, once again including the cobbled climb of Victoria Street as used in 2014, but this year turning left to take in the Lawnmarket and Johnston Terrace below Edinburgh Castle, before returning to the Grassmarket via West Port.  You can view the new circuit map here.

In addition to the main race Edinburgh will also host a corporate Pro-Am relay, sponsored by Brother UK.  The event will see 10 teams of five riders, each joined by a professional cyclist, taking on the Edinburgh circuit from 18:00 in a battle of Scottish businesses and Tour Series partners.

The Edinburgh event will also be extra special as the Brother Corporate Grand Prix will raise money in aid of former Tour Series Champion James McCallum’s Ride for Charlene, in memory of his late sister.  2011 Champion McCallum, who was among the riders on the Series’ last visit to Edinburgh, will be aiming to break Mark Beaumont’s non-stop, 38-hour, 500-mile ride around the coast of Scotland this June to raise money for Thrombosis UK.

“Edinburgh is one of the most beautiful cities you can race your bike in so it’s a real privilege to have an event here, it’s really something quite special,” said James McCallum.

“It’s one of these courses that has a bit of everything, a cobbled climb, a descent, so you’ve really got to look after yourself and not go into the red too soon, or you’ll never come back out of it. The changes they have made to the course this year are great and will make the race even more competitive.  It’ll be a better race to race, and an even better race to watch.”

Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s Director of Events, said: “I am delighted that the Pearl Izumi Tour Series is set to visit Edinburgh and Motherwell in 2016, which will allow spectators to witness some of the world’s finest cyclists first-hand and right on their doorsteps. 

“Events such as this not only inspire people to become more active but also broadcast terrific imagery of Scotland to audiences internationally, reinforcing the county’s reputation as the perfect stage for both participation and spectator cycling events.”

Above – Fraser Martin and Evan Oliphant from Team Raleigh GAC on Edinburgh’s Grassmarket, with the watchful gaze of Edinburgh Castle overlooking the final corner of the circuit.

It is the first time since the Pearl Izumi Tour Series was created in 2009 that Scotland has held two rounds of the unique, team based series and the second time that both Motherwell and Edinburgh have hosted rounds.

Cllr Jim Robertson Provost of North Lanarkshire Council said: “This is a terrific event for Motherwell and for North Lanarkshire. Everyone coming along is in for a treat and, as well as top-class competition, the event will be a real family affair offering something for everyone.

“The skill of the athletes is incredible – it’s hard to grasp the speeds involved. I’d encourage everyone to come along and enjoy this first class sporting occasion.”

Councillor Adam McVey said: “The Pearl Izumi Tour Series is a fantastic opportunity for people to see Britain’s top cyclists go head to head against the stunning backdrop of Edinburgh’s Grassmarket.

“Cycling is going from strength to strength in the Capital so to play host to another major cycling event is great news. It proved to be a really popular event back in 2014 and I’m sure the Edinburgh public will be out in force to show their support for the riders.”

Six men’s teams will compete in every round of the Pearl Izumi Tour Series, being joined at selected rounds by guest teams.  They are led by defending Champions Madison Genesis, alongside JLT Condor presented by Mavic, NFTO, Pedal Heaven, Team Raleigh GAC and Team WIGGINS.

Twelve teams will compete in the Matrix Fitness Grand Prix Series race in Motherwell, including Team Ford EcoBoost of reigning champion Nikki Juniper and Commonwealth Games Silver medallist Charline Joiner and the Podium Ambition p/b Club La Santa team of last year’s Motherwell winner Katie Archibald.

The women’s Matrix Fitness Grand Prix Series race in Motherwell will begin at 17:30, following on from Scottish Cycling’s support races, which will include Youth, Women’s and Junior and Senior Men’s races, with the men’s professional race at 19:30.

Support events in Edinburgh will take place on the circuit from 16:00, with the Brother Corporate Grand Prix at 18:00 and the men’s professional race at 19:30.

Highlights of both Motherwell and Edinburgh events will be shown on ITV4 on the evenings of Wednesday 18 and Friday 20 May respectively and available via catch-up services with the ITV Player.