Wolverhampton keen to host cycling road races at 2022 Commonwealth Games

Cyclists could be racing around the roads of Wolverhampton at the next Commonwealth Games.

The 2022 Commonwealth Games is being held in Birmingham and the surrounding area
The 2022 Commonwealth Games is being held in Birmingham and the surrounding area

Campaigners are pushing for the city to host an event when the Games come to Birmingham in 2022.

A proposed 105-mile route has been put forward that would feature Wolverhampton city centre, Wightwick Manor, Himley House, Dudley Castle, the Black Country Living Museum, Bridgnorth and the countryside of the Severn Valley.

The bid is being spearheaded by Wolverhampton’s own cycling legend, Hugh Porter MBE, who claimed Commonwealth Gold in 1966, and David Viner, trustee of Halesowen Cycling Club.

The city council is also keen to provide a base for athletes competing in the Games.

Hugh Porter said it would be 'sensational' if Wolverhampton hosted the road race

Ross Cook, director of city environment at the authority, said: "The chance of us hosting an event at a venue is now gone, but we're pushing hard on the door for the road race event.

"We're pushing that and for the city it's about the legacy of the games.

"We've got some great infrastructure and there's a fantastic network of opportunities.

"We will be pushing to host some of the team from the countries, they are looking for training camps and places to be located.

"Aldersley is great for those things and this is high on the agenda.

"There's employment opportunities and opportunities to get young people involved – there's a real opportunity there."

80th anniversary

The move, if it takes place, would mark the 80th anniversary of the first road race held in Britain – Llangollen to Wolverhampton – in 1942.

Percy Stallard, who was born in the city, rebelled against the National Cyclists Union with his colleagues, which said road racing was prohibited.

But the cyclist, who had completed in three world championships on the road abroad, wanted to bring it to British roads – and created the Llangollen to Wolverhampton road race, which finished at West Park on June 7, 1942.

David Viner, trustee of Halesowen Cycling Club, said: "I think it would be ideal for Wolverhampton.

"The city was the birthplace of road racing in the UK in 1942 and it all started from there.

"It will be 80 years since that in 2022 and it's one reason Wolverhampton should host the event.

"Wolverhampton has got a fantastic history with Sunbeam cycles, fantastic cyclists like Andrew Tennant and Hugh Porter.

"People are really keen that the Black Country participates and engages with the games."

Mr Porter said: “It would be sensational. To have TV coverage of Wolverhampton would be phenomenal.”

The race could take in two laps of the Severn Valley Grand Prix circuit starting in Wolverhampton, heading up the A41 to Shifnal and onto Bridgnorth before looping back to Wolverhampton.

Cyclists could then head off another section of the race taking in other parts of the Black Country.

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