Vélo Birmingham relaunches for 2019 as ‘Vélo Birmingham & Midlands’
Vélo Birmingham & Midlands (formerly Vélo Birmingham), the UK’s second biggest closed road cycling event, is returning on Sunday May 12th 2019, bigger and better than before, with an epic new 100 mile route taking 17,000 riders on an unforgettable journey through the West Midlands including two major city centres.
Launched at the Cycle Show in Birmingham, a panel consisting of Lord Sebastian Coe (Chairman of CSM), Martin Johnson CBE (England World Cup winning captain and fanatical cyclist), Ian Ward (Leader of Birmingham City Council) and the event’s female ambassador Rebecca Charlton spoke about the event’s aspirations for 2019.
Entries will open on Thursday October 4 exclusively to everyone who pre-registers before midnight on Wednesday October 3. The inaugural event sold-out 15,000 entries in just three days and with over 40,000 pre-registrations already received for the 2019 event, competition for places on the start line is again expected to be fierce.
Once again starting in the heart of Birmingham City Centre, the new and improved route will travel through the heart of the 2021 Capital of Culture – Coventry – where riders will cycle on the cobbled roads surrounding the historic Coventry Cathedral.
In between these two city centre adventures, riders will travel through Solihull, Warwickshire, Dudley and Sandwell where they will encounter stunning countryside, panoramic views, picturesque villages, iconic climbs and tens of thousands of residents lining the streets to cheer them on.
Moving the event into a Spring slot with additional daylight hours, together with an exciting new route, will provide the capacity and infrastructure to enable the event to fulfil its long-term ambition of becoming one of the world’s biggest and most iconic sportives. With the route travelling through some of the Midlands’ most vibrant and densely populated areas, organisers are taking the event to an even bigger audience in 2019 and will be working closely with local authority partners to ensure the event positively impacts the communities it travels through and provides a lasting legacy for the region.
Alongside growing the event in terms of overall capacity, organisers aim to make the event one of the UK’s most female friendly sportives, setting themselves the ambitious target of increasing the number of women taking part to 50% by the time Birmingham hosts the Commonwealth Games in 2022. The ambition is underpinned by a long-term strategy, which looks to tackle the barriers and understand motivators to women entering sportive events, with the aim of working closely with key partners to get more women to take part year on year. More information on this campaign can be found here.
The event also provides an important charity fundraising platform. In 2017, participants raised a staggering £2 million for several charities, including Cure Leukaemia, NSPCC, Alzheimers Society and Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, all of whom remain as headline charity partners in 2019.
Vélo Birmingham & Midlands will also once again feature the Business 100 corporate challenge, which will aim to attract 100 Midland based companies to sign up teams of four and enjoy an unrivalled VIP participation experience.
Cllr Izzi Seccombe, Leader of Warwickshire County Council said:
“Warwickshire has firmly established itself as a top venue for cycling having hosted the OVO Energy Women’s Tour for the last three years and then the OVO Energy Tour of Britain earlier this month. We have seen the positive effects that these have had on the local economy and on the uptake of cycling as a pastime and this wonderful event also offers people the chance to participate and enjoy cycling for themselves.
We’re thrilled to be part of such a massive event and keep Warwickshire at the forefront of people’s minds when they think of the best places in which to cycle.”
Lord Sebastian Coe, Chairman of organisers CSM, said:
“We are delighted that Vélo Birmingham & Midlands is returning in May 2019. The fantastic support for the event from our local authority partners demonstrates the importance for the Midlands of hosting major events in the build up to the 2022 Commonwealth Games and we thank them enormously for helping us create this stunning 100 mile route.
The new and improved route really shows off the beauty and diversity of the Midlands and the opportunity to experience cycling through the heart of two major Midlands cities on closed roads will provide a truly unique experience for the 17,000 riders taking part.
The event will be a fantastic spectacle of cycling, charity fundraising and community spirit and I am sure it will inspire people of all ages and abilities to take up the sport of cycling and lead a healthier, more active life.”
Andy Street, Major of the West Midlands Combined Authority, said:
“As we get ready to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games, the Velo Birmingham and Midlands will be a great event to showcase the best of the region. This was an absolute triumph last year with 15,000 people riding their bikes on the closed road route and many residents coming out to support them. There was also a very positive impact on the local economy, and of course the thousands of pounds raised for different charities.
I invite residents and those coming to visit the West Midlands to take part in what is sure to be another hugely successful event.”