Lincoln Festival of Cycling 2016 launched with new sportive event

A bumper 2016 Lincoln Festival of Cycling has been officially launched with the addition of a brand new sportive event.

Special guests including professional cyclists were invited to One NK, formerly the NK Sports Centre in North Hykeham on Thursday, November 5, to launch the 61st annual festival.

A ceremony officially marked the opening of a new Lincoln Sportive on May 14, designed to give cyclists the Grand Prix experience.

Marion Brighton, Leader of North Kesteven District Council and former Lincoln Grand Prix organiser Ian Emmerson marking the occasion. Photo: Phil Crow

Marion Brighton, Leader of North Kesteven District Council and former Lincoln Grand Prix organiser Ian Emmerson marking the occasion. Photo: Phil Crow

Guests also celebrated the centre’s newly refurbished studios, changing rooms, hire bikes and a host of new classes at the sports centre as work gets underway on finishing phases of a £3.6 million revamp.

Russell Downing (4 times winner of Lincoln GP), Jon Mold, Hannah Walker, Kiera McVitty and Dean Downing. Photo: Phil Crow

Russell Downing (4 times winner of Lincoln GP), Jon Mold, Hannah Walker, Kiera McVitty and Dean Downing. Photo: Phil Crow

With the launch on Thursday, November 5, Dan Ellmore spoke about how the new Sportive event would add to the festival.

He said: “The Lincoln Sportive is a brand new event on May 14 2016 designed to take rider experience to a whole new level based on the The Lincoln Grand Prix which is one of the UK’s most prestigious and fiercely fought races with an amazing 60 year history.

“Firstly we have the 30 mile route, which will be the distance covered by the Elite riders in the Lincoln Criterium on May 13. Second there is the 63 mile route which is the race distance for the women’s Lincoln Grand Prix a brand new race for 2016, and last and most definitely not least we have the 103 mile route, the exact distance of the men’s Lincoln Grand Prix.

New organiser of the Lincoln Grand Prix Dan Ellmore

New organiser of the Lincoln Grand Prix Dan Ellmore

“All routes will follow a lap of the Lincoln Grand Prix circuit on their return to Lincoln, so you can experience the feeling of a last lap battle for the win for yourself.

“You will have first hand experience of what it took for Peter Kennaugh or Lizzie Armitstead to win the National Road Race Championships on this circuit in 2015. Finishing by climbing the fearsome 1 in 6 cobbled climb of Michaelgate and into the Lincoln Castle expo.”

Phil West, British Cycling’s major domestic events manager, said: “The prestigious Lincoln Grand Prix has been an integral feature of the British Cycling road racing calendar for over sixty years so I am delighted that in 2016 the race will be part of a full weekend of cycling in the city, giving people several opportunities to enjoy the sport by participating or supporting the racing.”

The 2016 festival will also include:

  • Lincoln Criterium on May 13
  • Lincoln Uphill Dash on May 14
  • 61st Lincoln Grand Prix on May 15

More information can be found on the newly revamped website.

The legacy of the annual Grand Prix was boosted tenfold last year when it became the host for the British Cycling National Road Race Championships.

With some of the sport’s biggest names on the competitors list, the event attracted an estimated 30,000 people and generated £2.25 million for the local economy.

Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

This year, the Lincoln Festival of cycling baton has been passed from Ian Emmerson, who stood at the helm for 52 years, to local businessman Dan Ellmore.

Noting the transition, and as a special ‘thank you’ to Ian, he was presented with his very own Michaelgate cobble stone; a symbol of one of the notorious challenge spots of the Lincoln Grand Prix.

Ian was presented with his very own cobble by new organiser Dan Ellmore. Photo: Phil Crow

Ian was presented with his very own cobble by new organiser Dan Ellmore. Photo: Phil Crow