Ironman cyclists are back

Cyclists going through Buckshaw Village in last year's Ironman UK triathlon
Cyclists going through Buckshaw Village in last year's Ironman UK triathlon

Fifty qualifying places for the Ironman world championships are up for grabs when the gruelling race comes to Chorley this weekend.

Ironman UK’s cycling section returns to parts of the borough - including Rivington, Adlington, Anderton, Abbey Village, Wheelton and Brindle.

The high-profile, televised world class event is a series of worldwide races.

More than 2,000 athletes from over 40 countries will be competing.

Ironman UK takes place through Bolton, Chorley and Wigan on Sunday.

The course includes a 2.4 mile swim in Pennington Flash, Leigh.

“While hosting a major international event like Ironman will have some impact, we go to great lengths to minimise this and to make sure people who may be affected have clear information on their options on race day.”

Kevin Stewart, Ironman regional director

Cyclists will embark on a 112-mile, two-loop journey from Pennington Flash onto the Lancashire countryside.

The bike course now includes the infamous Sheep House Lane climb where spectators can get up close with the athletes in Tour de France style. The run begins at the Macron Stadium - formerly the Reebok - with athletes heading into Bolton town centre, where they complete three loops of a circuit before finishing in Victoria Square in the shadow of the Albert Hall.

There are 50 qualifying slots for the Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.

Last year, there was outcry from residents and businesses in villages, such as Heskin and Charnock Richard, unhappy that their routes were blocked by the cycle ride.

Some business owners complained their businesses had been affected as a result of customers not being bale to gain access to them.

But there have been changes to this year’s route.

Kevin Stewart, Ironman regional director, Northern Europe, said: “While hosting a major international event like Ironman will have some impact, we go to great lengths to minimise this and to make sure people who may be affected have clear information on their options on race day. Details of the 2015 event, with advice for residents in each area we pass through, is available on our website www.ironman.com/uk and there are contact details for any specific questions.

“Not everyone will appreciate the benefits that Ironman brings to Lancashire: the direct economic benefit from over 6,000 athletes and spectators coming to stay in the area, the media profile and international television coverage that is generated or the spectacle that the event provides, with thousands of local people turning out to cheer athletes on.”

“Although we had support from members of Heskin parish council and local residents to continue to bring the route through the village, the volume of traffic in the Charnock Richard area has meant that we have adapted the route this year to travel south through Wrightington.

“This route maintains access for the vast majority of residents and businesses, if they refer to the information available and leaflets, which are sent to every property in the area prior to the event.”