Exam concerns halt UK bike race return

A MAJOR cycling event will not return to Oxford this year for fear of disrupting students during their exams.

The Halfords Tour Series shut off St Giles’ for a day when it came to the city for the first time last May.

The third round of the 11-stop UK tour brought more than 100 top cyclist, including London 2012 Olympic gold medalist Ed Clancy, to the city.

But Oxford University objected to the one-day event returning this year, the Oxford Mail understands.

Halfords Tour Series spokesman Peter Hodges said: “Unfortunately I believe Oxford had to withdraw from the event because of its timing during May and June and the impact and disruption this was judged to have had on the university during the exam period.”

He added: “We are really disappointed, as I’m sure many cycling fans are, to not be back in Oxford.

“It was a great success last year and our experience with the Tour Series is you really need two or three years at a venue to make the event a real fixture and success, so I am sure it would have been even better.”

Dennis McSweeney, spokes-man for the Oxonian Cycling Club, said it was disappointing the city was missing out.

He said: “It gives people the chance to go and watch fast racing action.

“It’s not the sort of thing you would see unless you went to see the Tour of Britain or Tour de France.”

He said the club had a stall at the event last year, adding: “We had quite a lot of comments that people were enjoying it and since we have had people say how they are looking forward to this year.”

Oxfordshire county councillor Arash Fatemian, who helped bring the event to the city last year, said it was “unfortunate” it would not be returning.

And he said he hoped the county and city councils could help bring the event back.

Last year the day featured a special Varsity race between student cyclists from Oxford and Cambridge.

Hannah McKay, president of the Oxford University Sports Federation, said: “We do think it’s a shame that the event will not run this year.

“However, as an organisation whose responsibility is to contribute towards the overall student experience, we completely understand that since May falls in the middle of the exam period, keeping disruption to a minimum at this important time is paramount for colleges and the university.”

Oxford University declined to comment.

Oxfordshire County Council spokesman Sam Henry said: “We understand that Halfords did not put through an application due to concerns from the university, colleges and student union that the event, at this time, would disrupt students taking their exams.”

Oxford City Council spokesman Louisa Dean added: “We need all stakeholders to be engaged with the event for it to happen.”

Comments (4)

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3:52pm Tue 26 Mar 13

jfdavid says...

I, for one, am very dissapointed to read that St. Giles won't be closed.

It is a short-sighted view on part of the Univeristy and its "expression of concern" for the sutdents. Considering they had free publicity and a Varsity race was held before the main event, and the deep history of the university in the area.
I, for one, am very dissapointed to read that St. Giles won't be closed. It is a short-sighted view on part of the Univeristy and its "expression of concern" for the sutdents. Considering they had free publicity and a Varsity race was held before the main event, and the deep history of the university in the area. jfdavid

4:33pm Tue 26 Mar 13

fat Barry says...

I'm also disappointed with this decision. I went to last years event and had a great time. This probably means that the Halfords Tour cycling series will never come back to Oxford. Great shame.
I'm also disappointed with this decision. I went to last years event and had a great time. This probably means that the Halfords Tour cycling series will never come back to Oxford. Great shame. fat Barry

8:11pm Tue 26 Mar 13

Steve A says...

I'm also disappointed in the decision not to hold the Halfords Tour Series in Oxford this year, the atmosphere at last years event was amazing. The varsity race before was great even if the result didn't go Oxfords way.

With Councils looking at green transport initiatives cycling should be encouraged, what a better way for Oxford to promote cycling following on from the great year British cycling has seen but to support this event. Opportunity missed Oxford!!!

I'd like to add that this is a double blow for Oxfordshire as Blenheim Palace have announced they won't be hosting the Bike Blenheim event this year for financial reasons, this event was a real family cycling event with a family ride, time trial, sportives & the Brompton World Championship + lots more!!
I'm also disappointed in the decision not to hold the Halfords Tour Series in Oxford this year, the atmosphere at last years event was amazing. The varsity race before was great even if the result didn't go Oxfords way. With Councils looking at green transport initiatives cycling should be encouraged, what a better way for Oxford to promote cycling following on from the great year British cycling has seen but to support this event. Opportunity missed Oxford!!! I'd like to add that this is a double blow for Oxfordshire as Blenheim Palace have announced they won't be hosting the Bike Blenheim event this year for financial reasons, this event was a real family cycling event with a family ride, time trial, sportives & the Brompton World Championship + lots more!! Steve A

4:16pm Wed 27 Mar 13

hotcoales says...

AARRRRGGHGHH!

You dizzy-eyed, whey-faced cretins. Instead of enjoying FAST RACING ACTION from my bedroom, my revision has been utterly SHELVED, as you have forced me to complain IN THESE, THE STRONGEST POSSIBLE TERMS, against your deplorable and disgusting actions.

And yet, we will still have college balls going on until the small hours throughout the term. We will still have bops in college. We will still, even, have the St Giles' Fair, something which I am sure engages far fewer students than the Tour Series. My Dad saw me on TV last year!

It is all over by the evening, it is exciting, it is a lot more inspiring than a day's traffic.

In short, IT IS EXACTLY WHAT STUDENTS NEED.
So GIVE IT BACK.
AARRRRGGHGHH! You dizzy-eyed, whey-faced cretins. Instead of enjoying FAST RACING ACTION from my bedroom, my revision has been utterly SHELVED, as you have forced me to complain IN THESE, THE STRONGEST POSSIBLE TERMS, against your deplorable and disgusting actions. And yet, we will still have college balls going on until the small hours throughout the term. We will still have bops in college. We will still, even, have the St Giles' Fair, something which I am sure engages far fewer students than the Tour Series. My Dad saw me on TV last year! It is all over by the evening, it is exciting, it is a lot more inspiring than a day's traffic. In short, IT IS EXACTLY WHAT STUDENTS NEED. So GIVE IT BACK. hotcoales

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