Updated: Friday, 24th October 2014 @ 7:04pm

Olympic gold-medalist Rebecca Romero welcomes The Great Manchester Cycle

Olympic gold-medalist Rebecca Romero welcomes The Great Manchester Cycle

By Melanie Hughes

Rebecca Romero, the reigning Olympic Champion in cycling’s 3k individual pursuit, was at The Hilton backing the Great Manchester Cycle, today.

The event, which has the full endorsement of governing body British Cycling, will feature three different distances designed to cater for all abilities; from club cyclists to families who wish to take in the sights of the city on a gentle cycle together.

There will be the choice of three difficulty levels depending on the competitor, people can choose between 13 miles, 26 miles or a mammoth 52 miles which Rebecca will be going for.

The lap will include a unique chance to cycle on the Mancunian Way; the inner city ring road normally being closed to cyclists.

Romero praised the event and encouraged Mancunians to take the opportunity to get into cycling when the event comes around in what she called her ‘sporting home’.

Rebecca said: “I started my cycling training at the velodrome; I have great affection for Manchester.

“I love getting stuck into any sport I can whether I’m good or bad at it and I like to encourage other people to have a go, especially children.

“It’s a great opportunity to get on a bike for the first time, for people concerned about traffic, so to have 13 miles of road space completely traffic free – when do you ever get that opportunity,” she added.

There will be hundreds and thousands of other cyclists coming together for this mass participation event and setting targets for themselves and it was stressed that the event is open to all abilities and age ranges.

“The 13-mile event is perfect for families and for people who might have a dusty old bike in the shed that they want to get out,” Rebecca assured.

Tony Audenshaw, who plays Bob Hope from Emmerdale, is ever present when it comes to inspiring the public to get active in Manchester and praised the event encouraging people to do it for charity.

Tony is cycling for Leukemia & Lymphoma research which has a hub at the Manchester Royal Infirmary.

Despite not being a keen cyclist, he is a keen fitness enthusiast and runner but has currently sustained an injury meaning he can’t run so he has taken up cycling for the time being.

Tony said: “I’m climbing the walls when I get injured; I can’t stand it so to be able to get out on the bike now has really sorted my head out!”

Eammon O’ Rourke, Head of Sport and Leisure services at Manchester City Council, said:  “We have been working since the Commonwealth Games to make sure there is an ongoing legacy and this is part of that jigsaw.”