Durham has been announced as host city for Vélo North - a major new closed road sportive taking place on Sunday 1st September 2019. Two routes of 50 and 100 miles wil be on offer, with entries going on sale from Thursday 7th March.

Entries for the new Velo North sportive open Thursday 7 March.
Entries for the new Velo North sportive open Thursday 7 March.

Supported by Durham County Council, this brand-new festival of cycling will provide 15,000 riders of all abilities with the opportunity to explore the beautiful County Durham countrysidon fully closed roads.

At the heart of the Vélo North offering is a 100 mile route that will take thousands of riders on a challenging but spectacular journey through the beautiful North Pennines. Starting and finishing in the heart of Durham City Centre in the shadow of Durham Cathedral, the event will take riders on an unforgettable journey through rolling countryside, passing through beautiful towns and villages.  

The event will also offer a shorter, 50 mile closed road route, offering riders the opportunity to experience the thrill of riding on closed roads. Vélo North will also feature a diverse programme of community events and activities aimed at encouraging people to take up the sport of cycling and lead a healthier, more active lifestyle. 

With thousands of participants expected to travel from across the UK to participate in Vélo North, the event will help showcase and raise the profile of County Durham as well as providing significant economic impact for the region. The event will also provide a major fundraising platform for a number of local and national charities, with Prostate Cancer UK - Vélo North's lead charity partner - aiming to raise in excess of £250,000. 

Following the huge success of Fire & Ice and the return of Lumiere, Vélo North is another exciting event in Durham's 2019 line-up that is showcasing the region as a leader when it comes to hosting major cultural and sporting events. 

Vélo North is the latest event in the Vélo Series - a series of major closed road sportives within the UK. Other events in the Vélo Series include Vélo Birmingham & Midlands which is taking place on Sunday May 12 and Vélo South which organisers are planning to take place in the South of England in the Summer of 2020

As the only closed road sportive in the North of England, Vélo North places are expected to be in high demand when entries open on Thursday March 7th exclusively to everyone who has pre-registered. To be in with a chance of taking part participants must pre-register before midnight on Wednesday March 6th.  

Prospective participants will also have the option of entering through Vélo North's Lead Charity Partner - Prostate Cancer UKThere will also be a Vélo North Business 100 entry option which provides companies with the opportunity to enjoy a VIP participation experience coupled with exclusive training events and networking opportunities.

Cllr Ossie Johnson, Cabinet member for tourism, culture, leisure and rural issues at Durham County Council, said: "In a year when we are celebrating the power of culture and sport to revitalise communities and bring people together through the #Durham19 campaign, we are delighted to be a part of the Vélo series.

"Vélo North is not only a fantastic opportunity to showcase the beautiful and varied landscapes that exist within County Durham, but it will bring significant economic benefits to our region. It also has the potential to inspire more people to take up cycling and lead healthier lifestyles. 

"I would encourage anyone thinking about taking part to register their interest now to avoid disappointment."

Keen cyclist and Vélo Series ambassador Martin Johnson CBE, who is participating in Vélo North, said: "As a cycling fanatic, it's hugely exciting to see another closed road sportive come to the UK. Opportunities to ride on closed roads are incredibly rare and having ridden the inaugural Vélo Birmingham, I know first-hand how exhilarating the experience can be - I can't wait to be one of 15,000 riders lining up in Durham City Centre on Sunday September 1."

He added: "My advice to anyone who is tempted to enter but is doubting their ability to complete 50 or 100 miles would be to just take the plunge and go for it! I speak from experience when I say that with the right training these are definitely achievable goals and the feeling when you cross the finish line will be worth all the hard work."

Mark WhiteheadCEO of the Vélo Series, said: "The passion for cycling in the North of England is incredible and as a Northerner myselfI couldn't be more proud and excited that we are bringing a closed road event to the region. The Great North Run has captured the hearts and minds of runners throughout the UK and we want Vélo North to do the same for cyclists. Vélo North has the potential to rival the biggest cycling events in the UK & Europe and we'd like to take this opportunity to thank Durham County Council for sharing our vision for this event and helping us make it a reality. The combination of this beautiful Cathedral City and the phenomenal surrounding countryside makes County Durham the perfect venue for an event of this scale and prestige and we can't wait to welcome cyclists and spectators alike on September 1st."

 For more information and to pre-register, visit: www.velonorth.com.