TEESSIDE University has been confirmed as Middlesbrough Council’s lead partner in the build-up to the Tour de Yorkshire.
The town hosts the start of Stage 3 of the 2016 event on Sunday, May 1, with a global audience expected to tune in to see some of the world’s best cyclists go head to head for the prestigious crown.
The peloton will gather in Centre Square, setting off from mima and heading into Teesside University’s state-of-the-art Campus Heart complex.
The University has been closely involved since Middlesbrough’s role was revealed in December, and earlier this month enthusiastic volunteers received Tour de Yorkshire Tour Maker training and hi-vis vests on campus.
A special Enjoy the Ride-themed Art Trolley will be helping youngsters and their families get into the celebratory spirit on Saturday, April 30 with free cycling-related art sessions.
Teesside-based artist and designer Nicola Golightly has created some special activities for decorating own bikes and giving the cyclists a rousing send-off on the big day.
And on Sunday, May 1 the Campus Heart will host a special celebration as the peloton rolls through before tackling the hilly and challenging 198km route to Scarborough.
The route takes the riders past the University’s new £20m teaching and learning building The Curve and giant screen on the Living Wall.
They’re guaranteed a festival atmosphere with crowds turning out to line the streets and cheer them on, with a feast of entertainment including street food stalls and music from the University’s Click Radio.
Let’s Circus and their daredevil cycle team will be performing stunts – there’s even a chance for spectators to try their hand. Performance times are 10.30am, 11.30am and 12.30pm.
The University has invested £260m in its campus in recent years, including the brand new £2.75m health and fitness centre The Gym and a £6m upgrade to science and engineering facilities in both The Orion and Stephenson buildings.
Michael Lavery, Teesside University Executive Director (External Relations), said: “This is a fantastic international event which our students, staff and community can become involved in by watching the riders as they pass through Campus Heart and then by staying on to enjoy food as the cyclists continue their journey to Scarborough.
“We are expecting a festival atmosphere along the whole route, especially at mima where the final stage begins and also in the University’s Campus Heart as the cyclists continue along their route.
“It will showcase the town and the University brand to an international audience.
The inaugural Tour de Yorkshire in 2015 attracted one and a half million spectators and more than six million global television viewers, and generated an estimated £50 million in economic benefit to the areas involved.
Councillor Lewis Young, Middlesbrough Council’s Executive Member for Culture, Leisure and Sport, said: “We’re guaranteed a spectacle that will live long in the memory, and we’re looking forward to extend a true Middlesbrough welcome, both to the crowds on the day and to a huge television audience.
“Teesside University is a key player in the town and the region as a whole, so it’s fitting that its burgeoning Campus Heart should be one of the focal points of the Tour’s visit to Middlesbrough.”
For full details of the 2016 Tour de Yorkshire, visit letour.yorkshire.com/ and for regular updates on Middlesbrough’s build-up to the big day, visit www.middlesbrough.gov.uk and lovemiddlesbrough.com/enjoytheride