Double Olympic gold medallist Ed Clancy has officially launched the Stoke-on-Trent round of The Pearl Izumi Tour Series.

The 28-year-old came to the Potteries on Monday to promote The Pearl Izumi Tour Series, which comes to the city centre in just over three weeks.

Ed, who won a second consecutive team pursuit gold in world record time at the London Olympics, as well as bronze in the men’s omnium, will line-up alongside some of Britain’s top cycling teams for the race on Tuesday, May 21.

The Barnsley-born cyclist has taken part in the Stoke-on-Trent round of The Pearl Izumi Tour Series in 2009, 2010 and 2011, so this will be his fourth time racing in the city and his first time back competing in Stoke-on-Trent since his success at the Olympics.

Ed called in at Emma Bridgewater where he was shown around the factory and even tried his hand at painting a teapot.

He said: “There’s always been good crowds when I’ve raced in Stoke-on-Trent in the past and I’m sure this year is going to be no different, especially following on from the Olympics and the success of Bradley Wiggins in the Tour de France.

“The course in Stoke-on-Trent is quite difficult because it’s got uphill sections and quite tight bends, so it really tests your technical skills. I’m looking forward to it.”

The Pearl Izumi Tour Series is Britain's leading televised cycle race series, with highlights of every round shown on ITV4. There will be ten top teams battling it out at eleven venues for the right to be crowned the best team in Britain.

It is the fifth time the event has been staged in the city. The 1.2 kilometre circuit will see racers start at the Potteries Shopping Centre before embarking on a course which takes in most of the city centre's commercial and retail areas including Town Road, Old Hall Street, Cheapside, Piccadilly and Stafford Street.

Councillor Paul Shotton, deputy leader of the council, said: “We’re delighted to welcome a double Olympic gold medallist to our city twice in the space of a few weeks.

“Ed is a true Olympian and having people like him competing on our streets can only help to inspire others to get on their bikes and get involved in sport.

“The Pearl Izumi Tour Series promises to be a fantastic spectacle as some of the country’s top teams battle it out and we’re proud to support the event, which brings not only fun and excitement but real economic benefits to the city.

“It’s great to see one of the city centre’s key local businesses in Emma Bridgewater supporting the event. Last year 15,000 spectators watched the race in the city centre, bringing with it an economic benefit of £350,000. We’re hoping to see even more people out on the streets this time.”

Ed was joined at Emma Bridgewater by up-and-coming youth riders Sassan Emadi and Sean Mayer.

Sassan, who rides for Brian Rourke Cycles, won silver and bronze at the 2012 Junior National Championships. Sean, who rides for Swinnerton Cycles, was crowned national junior sprint champion last year.

Sassan, aged 18, who studies at St Joseph’s College and lives in Penkhull, said: “It’s great to have top names like Ed competing in the city and I’ll definitely be going down to watch on the day.

“Stoke-on-Trent is a really good place to cycle and there’s no reason why we can’t start producing stars of our own in cycling and other events.”

The Pearl Izumi Tour Series circuit race starts at 7.30pm with organisers putting together a packed list of supporting events and entertainment to take place in the city centre throughout the day, including the opening round of the women’s Johnson Health Tech Grand Prix Series at 6pm

Previous years have seen 100 schoolchildren ride two laps of the professional circuit and a Corporate Grand Prix which involved local businesses racing against each other on the track and organisers are keen to involve both groups again this year. Businesses can still enter the Corporate Grand Prix and are being encouraged to sign-up for the fun event.

Graham Bolton, executive head of operations at Emma Bridgewater, said: “It’s great to see The Pearl Izumi Tour Series again featuring a stage in Stoke-on-Trent. Events like this have a fantastic impact on local morale and city centre businesses.

“We are excited to be hosting the stage launch at the Emma Bridgewater Factory, and to demonstrate to Ed the heritage and skills that the city has to offer starting with a tour of our Victorian factory.”
 

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