Cycling through the city

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SOME of the country’s fastest riders will be returning to the North East for the opening stage of a prestigious cycling contest.

The 2011 Halfords Tour Series has announced that Durham will be the first of eight venues, with thousands of people expected to go to the city to see Olympic, Commonwealth Games and elite national riders battle it out on at challenging circuits.

Among the big names expected to be there are Olympic medalist Ed Clancy and Steven Burke.

Halfords Tour Series spokesman Peter Hodges said: “We are delighted to be starting the series in Durham this year.

“It is a really lovely venue. It is scenic and it is the hardest of all eight circuits.

“What better way to start the series than with a big bang?”

The Durham round will start at 7pm on May 24, preceded by a warm up from 6pm.

The circular route, which takes in Margery Lane, Crossgate Bank, South Street and Grove Street, starts and finishes at Durham School.