ORGANISERS of a bike race through the streets of Northwich town centre say they would love to do it again.
The Tour Series, a national championship for professional teams that runs throughout May, visited for the first time on Friday night.
It delivered a pair of thrilling races, prompting race director Mick Bennett to admit afterwards he’d love a repeat.
“I’d come back at the drop of a hat,” he told the Guardian.
“That’s not just up to us; the local council and the rest of the organising committee will need to assess whether they’ve had a return on the investment they’ve made.
“Only they can make that decision.
“What I can say is there is definitely enthusiasm our part to host another round in Northwich.”
The Tour Series is in its ninth year, with three new venues – London’s Wembley Park and Aberdeen are the others – on the calendar for 2017.
Taking the event to audiences that haven’t seen top-class cycling up close previously is important to Bennett and his team.
He said: “You feel both excited and nervous at the same time before a round at a place you haven’t been to previously.
“My crew have done a lot of these events, and you never know how it will go down. But I can’t fault it.
“It’s easy to get complacent, but the people at Northwich were superb; they left no stone unturned, and nothing was too much trouble for them to sort out.”
Spaniard Enrique Sanz, of Team Raleigh GAC, takes the acclaim of the crowd after winning Friday's Tour Series round in Northwich. Picture: Dave Gillespie
Bennett spent some time on Friday talking to spectators, as well as visiting nearby businesses.
He says the initial feedback has been wholly positive.
“It’s important that the event has support locally, and I know some shops stayed open late.
“You’re always going to get a Mr and Mrs Angry who feel inconvenienced, but everybody that I spoke to was enthusiastic.
“The atmosphere was great, and it felt like the town had bought into it – after all, it’s an opportunity for the general public to watch elite riders do their thing and not have to pay to do so.”
He said the response of the riders themselves, as well as the teams, had been encouraging.
They reported a fast, technical course that was as demanding as it was enjoyable.
“The weather throw in a curveball when it rained before the men’s race,” added Bennett.
“That added something, but a combination of big, wide open road spaces and tight corners definitely added to the spectacle.”
Northwich rider Matt Nowell, representing BIKE Channel Canyon, classified 30th overall.