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No Birmingham Velo in 2018 but controversial ride will return next year

By Jamie Brassington | Dudley | News | Published:

More than 15,000 cyclists took part last year, but the ride attracted criticism from residents and business owners.

Cyclists taking part in the 2017 Birmingham Velo

The Birmingham Velo will not be held this year, organisers have announced, after the event divided opinion in the Black Country and Staffordshire last year.

The event will instead return in 2019, when it will be moved from autumn to spring and see cyclists tackle a different route.

The ride was held for the first time in September but attracted criticism from residents and business owners due to the number of road closure in parts of the Black Country, Staffordshire, Worcestershire and Birmingham.

Businesses were forced to shut while saboteurs left nails and tacks on the route, including in Bobbington and Swindon, putting the safety of riders at risk.

Marshall Dave Coxhead with one of the tacks that were deliberately placed on the route last year

Details of next year's route are yet to be revealed but will be announced in the coming months, event organisers said.

Around 15,000 riders took part in the 100-mile route last year, in what is believed to be the UK's second biggest closed-road cycling event ever.

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Participants rode on a path from Birmingham city centre through Sandwell, Dudley, South Staffordshire and Worcestershire.

The 2019 event will take place earlier in the year when there is more daylight, which will 'significantly improve rider's experience', the organisers said.

Around 15,000 cyclists took part in the 100-mile ride in 2017

Jon Ridgeon, chairman of event organisers CSM Active, said: “Whilst the inaugural Velo Birmingham was a huge success, it was clear to us that some changes would be necessary if the event was to reach its long-term potential.

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"Together with our partners Birmingham City Council, we are determined to ensure that this wonderful event continues to develop and evolve, becoming not just bigger and better but also more inclusive and appealing to as wide an audience as possible.

"The move from September to the Spring along with the new route will provide us with a fantastic, sustainable long-term platform from which to grow in years to come and we can’t wait to return with an even more spectacular event in 2019.”

Councillor Ian Ward, leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “We’re excited to welcome Velo Birmingham back to the city in the spring of 2019.

"The 2017 event was a huge success for Birmingham and is an important part of the city’s cycling strategy.

"The benefits of major events are well known and our cycling strategy is clear - we want to get the Midlands cycling and we plan for Velo Birmingham to become a key legacy project as we build towards the 2022 Commonwealth Games.”

Last year's event raised £2 million for a number of different charities including Cure Leukaemia, NSPCC, Alzheimer’s Society and Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham.

Jamie Brassington

By Jamie Brassington
Wolves Reporter - @JamieB_Star

Sports reporter, primarily covering Wolves. Call me on 01902319464 or email jamie.brassington@expressandstar.co.uk.

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