Britain's leading televised cycle race is returning to Durham, featuring a host of top riders.
Eight men’s teams will compete in two of the 10 rounds of the 2018 OCO Energy Tour Series, which arrives in the city for the ninth time on Tuesday, May 22.
They will include defending champions JLT Condor, who emerged as overall victors in last year’s competition, hosted by Durham County Council in partnership with organiser Sweetspot.
First held in 2009, the series sees top cyclists - including Olympic and World champions - compete across 10 circuit races held in town and city centres across Britain each May.
Spectators can see Britain’s best cyclists in action for free. The circuit-based nature of the series also means fans get to see riders pass by numerous times during each race.
As in previous years, guest teams will also compete, taking part in a mini competition through the city.
This year will see three exciting races in Durham, including the Tour’s first ever hill climb race – a gruelling 500m up the cobbles of South Street – and a new race pitting some of the finest female riders against each other.
Coun Ossie Johnson, cabinet member for tourism, culture, leisure and rural issues at Durham County Council, said: “It’s great that spectators will have the chance to see some of the country’s best cycling teams on our streets.
"And with this line-up, we are confident there will be three fantastic races for everyone to enjoy.
"Over the years the series has contributed hundreds of thousands of pounds to the county's economy and helped raise our profile regionally, nationally and internationally, and we are looking forward to its return.”
Previous contests have seen stars such as Olympic, world and European team pursuit champion Ed Clancy, Teesside's Harry Tanfield – who recently won a Commonwealth Games silver medal – and UCI Road World Championships junior time trial champion Tom Pidcock battling it out for one hour of racing, plus five laps.
There will be a small number of road closures involving the surrounding area of the circuit. These will be publicised well in advance.
For anyone who can't get along to watch, highlights of each leg of the Tour Series are shown on ITV4.