Otley Cycle Races adds women’s Grand Prix

British Cycling has announced that this year’s Otley Cycle Races criterium event, Wednesday July 3, will include a women’s Grand Prix for the first time in the event’s 28-year history.

Local hero Lizzie Armitstead leads a group of men in the 2010 Otley Cycle races criterium. Image courtesy British Cycling.

The new race will be part of British Cycling’s National Women’s Series and will be known as Nuflex Muscle and Joint Gels Women’s Otley GP. Previously, women competed in the men’s Classic race.

Giles Pidcock, organiser of Otley Cycle Races, says he’s delighted at the addition to the race programme. “This is just great news for us. We’ve worked really hard with the police, the council and the people of Otley to make a women’s race possible but of course nothing happens until someone agrees to pay for it and this is where the Nuflex team have been brilliant.”

Nuflex products are marketed by DS Healthcare, an Otley company. Their range of warm up and cool down gels and sprays are used by many top riders prior to a race or training session and to aid recovery.

“They helped with some sponsorship last year and as more and more people have got the Nuflex message, they’ve shown they’re happy to reinvest their success in events like this,” says Pidcock.

“We’re really proud of the relationship we have with all of our sponsors and together we’ve been able to build this event. Nuflex are also sponsoring the Otley Reliability Ride which is on the 17 February, it’s all exciting.”

Paul Dove, managing director of Nuflex Muscle and Joint Gels said: “We’re delighted to be helping the creation of this new event. Even though the Otley races have been going for so many years there has never been a women’s race here.

“It is right that the epicentre of cycling in Yorkshire and the home of Lizzie Armitstead has a massive event for women to participate in which we will hope inspire more women to get involved in racing.”

Its location north of Leeds and Bradford makes Otley the gateway to the Dales for thousands of riders, which is why this market town of just 14,000 people has such a significant place in Yorkshire’s cycling culture.

The Otley Cycle races evening criteriums The Otley Cycle Races on July 3 are followed by the rather more leisurely Otley Cycling Festival on Sunday July 14.

The Otley season gets started this weekend with the Otley Reliability Trial which is open to anyone. It starts off at Otley Buttercross at 9am, just turn up and pay your £3 to participate.

Some of the Otley Cycle Races team are also putting on a series of evening races this year, which Giles tells us would be a great place to start for any women who want to try racing. “These evening races are handicapped so should be a good place to start if there are any women out there who want to have a go.

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