Olympic champions join soap stars in Jubilee weekend highlight Great Manchester Cycle

By Rebecca Pocklington

Thousands of keen cyclists are preparing to ride through the city centre this Bank Holiday Monday for The Daily Mirror Great Manchester Cycle.

The event has reached its entry limit with 7,000 cyclists set to ride distances ranging from 13 to 52 miles in what has been named the UK’s biggest ever timed cycling event on closed roads.

Reigning Olympic champion Rebecca Romero will be taking part alongside Lizzie Amitstead, Britain’s hopeful for Olympic gold in the road race in London 2012.

Lizzie, who is doing the 52 mile ‘test yourself’ route, said: “I spend a lot of time in Manchester and to be able to explore the city in this way is something I really wanted to do. It is going to be the highlight of Manchester’s Jubilee weekend.”

Chairman of Nova International, Brendan Foster, said: “We are thrilled but not surprised that the Great Manchester Cycle has proved such a popular addition to the Manchester sporting calendar.

“The city is dubbed the UK’s capital of sport for good reason.”

A host of celebrities will also be taking part, with stars of Emmerdale including Tom Lister (Karl King), Tony Audenshaw (Bob Hope) and Rik Makarem (Nikhil Sharma).

Competing against them will be Coronation Street cast members Ryan Thomas (Jason Grimshaw), Chris Fountain (Tommy Duckworth) and Michael Le Vell (Kevin Webster).

The soap stars will be competing for a trophy for the soap with the quickest average lap time.

Competitors have the chance to do one, two or four laps of the course starting and finishing at Eastlands from 8am in various waves.

Councillor Mike Amesbury, Manchester City Council’s executive member for culture and leisure, said: “The Daily Mirror Great Manchester Cycle is sure to be a highlight of Manchester’s Jubilee weekend.”

The event is also set to be the UK’s biggest street party, with cyclists even riding down a stretch of Manchester’s busiest motorway, the Mancunian way.

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