Cyclists will saddle up for the Tour de Chorley

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More than 100 professional cyclists will get in the saddle for an elite road race around the borough.

Thousands of visitors are expected to line the streets to support top cyclists from around the country as the British Cycling Elite Road Race Series for 2015 starts in the town centre.

Coun  Alistair Bradley, leader of Chorley Council, on his bike with Charles Jackson, vice-chairman of British Cycling, and Lesley Pape, deputy chief exeutive of Chorley Building Society

Coun Alistair Bradley, leader of Chorley Council, on his bike with Charles Jackson, vice-chairman of British Cycling, and Lesley Pape, deputy chief exeutive of Chorley Building Society

And many more will be watching on television around Europe, as the race is broadcast on Eurosport.

Chorley Council has teamed up with British Cycling and Chorley Building Society to host the event, which will see professional riders take on a challenging course in the first race of the season.

They came forward to organise the race following talks to resurrect the Tour Of Lancashire, which was last held in 1999.

It will be held on Saturday, April 4 on Park Road, in Chorley town centre, and cover 100 miles in total.

Chorley Grand Prix map

Chorley Grand Prix map

There will be five laps, taking in Chorley, Rivington, Belmont, Abbey Village, Withnell, Brinscall, Wheelton and Buckshaw Village.

Council bosses say there will generally be rolling road closures in place, which will mean very minimal disruption to traffic.

Coun Alistair Bradley, leader of Chorley Council, said: “People in Chorley have embraced cycling in recent years, particularly since the Manchester Commonwealth Games route was hosted in the borough.

“This enthusiasm has been reflected in the numbers of people, hundreds of them, who have taken part in our Sky Rides, which we launched last year with British Cycling.

“Hosting this elite event will top off what has been a brilliant few years for cycling and will certainly put Chorley on the map.

“We’re delighted to have the first Elite Series race of the new season and it should provide a boost to the local economy, with lots of visitors coming to watch the race.”

British Cycling’s director of cycle sport and membership, Jonny Clay, said: “We are all excited to welcome in the new British Cycling elite road season and the anticipation is only increased with new location Chorley set to host the opening round.

“The region has a proud cycle sport history and I’m very hopeful that the Chorley Grand Prix could lead the way to the creation of a Tour Of Lancashire in future seasons.

“However, for now I am simply excited about 2015 and the racing that is going to take place.

“The appetite for top-level domestic racing has rarely been higher in this country and I’m very confident that the upcoming season will continue to increase competition and conditions for riders, while also entertaining new and existing fans of the sport.”

Stephen Penlington, chief executive of sponsor Chorley And District Building Society said: “We are absolutely delighted to support British Cycling and be a part of this prestigious event. As a local building society we are committed to playing our part in the community.”