VIDEO: Durham hosts top cyclists in Pearl Izumi series

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THOUSANDS lined Durham’s cobbled streets to watch some of cycling’s top stars pass through as the city played host to the Pearl Izumi Tour Series.

Former British Road Race champion Kristian House was individual and sprint competition winner in an elite field of riders including double Olympic gold medallist Ed Clancy.

The team competition went to Team Raleigh, which has now won both of the opening two stages.

The rider recording the fastest lap was Niklas Gustavsson.

The riders completed laps of a route which began at Durham School, down the steep Crossgate, and hit a thrilling, sharp right-hand corner before tackling the punishing, cobbled climb of South Street and calling on whatever energy they had left for a sprint finish along Grove Street.

Simon Henig, leader of Durham County Council, said: “It’s fantastic to (it’s) back for a fourth year. This event brings people into Durham and gives us national exposure.

“We are now developing a reputation for cycling. With the Lindisfarne Gospels, the Regatta, Lumiere and the Brass Festival, there’s a lot on offer.

“Many major cities would be delighted to have what we have.”

Durham was hosting the series for the fourth consecutive year. The 11-stage tour began in Kirkcaldy, Scotland, on Tuesday.

The action now moves to Stoke-on-Trent on Tuesday. The series’ grand final will be in Ipswich on Friday, June 14.

Highlights of the Durham race will be shown on ITV4 at 10pm tonight.