Coventry & Warwickshire

Midlands Vélo to return in summer 2020

Cyclists at the start Image copyright Ian Baker Photography
Image caption Organisers described this year's event in May as a "huge success", despite issues caused by road closures

A 100-mile closed route bike ride is to return to the Midlands for a third time, organisers have announced.

The next Vélo Birmingham and Midlands, which attracts thousands of cyclists, will be held on 28 June 2020.

The event, which has been criticised for widespread road closures, will again take riders on a circular route through Birmingham and Coventry.

Organisers say the Vélo is a "huge success" and course information will be released in the coming months.

Previous events have attracted controversy, after residents living along the routes told the BBC they felt "trapped" in their homes because of road closures.

Following a hiatus after the 2017 ride, when part of a road through Worcestershire was targeted with nails, the May 2019 course was altered to pass through Coventry.

This year, 17,000 people participated, with one man dying after coming off his bike in Atherstone, Warwickshire.

A vet also accused stewards of delaying him reaching a horse and newborn foal, who he said might not otherwise have died.

A Vélo Birmingham & Midlands spokesperson said on Friday: "Whilst incidents like this are unfortunate, we as organisers, are comfortable with the plans and processes put in place for the event and that they were carried out appropriately and in a timely manner."

Image copyright Ian Baker Photography
Image caption In the last event riders passed through Coventry city centre

Event planners CSM Active said the May event attracted tens of thousands of spectators, raised more than £1m for charity and boosted the local economy by £2.4m.

"We're committed to growing and improving it year-on-year, not only for the participants, but also for the region as a whole," said Richard Relton, CEO of the Vélo series.

Ian Ward, leader of Birmingham City Council, said there were also other benefits.

"In addition to the economic impact it delivers to the region, the event is vitally important in helping us promote cycling as a more environmentally sustainable mode of transport within the city," he said.

Participants can pre-register for the 100-mile route, with a shorter 42-mile course open for entries later in the year.

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