The arrival of a major cycle event in Oxford this month is being touted as a step towards hosting part of the country’s biggest Cycling race.
Round three of 11 in the Halfords Tour Series will be held in the city for the first time on Tuesday, May 22.
The race, which will shut off main streets for the day, boasts the country’s top teams and will star Olympic gold medallists and World Champion riders.
And Oxfordshire County councillor Arash Fatemian, who helped bring the event to the city, said he hoped one day the country’s top event, the Tour of Britain, could come through the area.
Mr Fatemian, who is the council’s cycling champion, said: “We have some wonderful terrain and countryside around the roads in Oxfordshire.
“The Tour of Britain is something that may or may not happen further down the line but as a start the Halfords Tour Series is a great event.”
He added: “It will be great for cycling fans and cycling enthusiasts, or just people who enjoy sport, to see cycle racing in the city centre. I am hoping it will be a great success. And events like
this can really galvanise thought and get people involved.”
The Halfords Tour Series is free to watch and will shut St Giles, Magdalen Street East and Magdalen Street West, and parts of Beaumont Street and Pusey Street.
Diversions will be in place.
Cyclists will race at speeds of up to 40mph on a 1km oval circuit around St Giles.
Olympic gold medallist Ed Clancy and World Champion Andy Tennant will be among those taking part.
Mr Fatemian said event would also be good for local traders, adding: “Something like this, given the attraction it brings, is great for Oxfordshire businesses.”
There will also be an Oxford versus Cambridge University race and a race for women riders before the main event at 7pm.
Cycling groups will also host stalls and put on activities for youngsters.
Peter Hodges, spokesman for both the Tour Series and Tour of Britain, said: “We are really looking forward to Oxford.
“The bigger the crowds are, the better the event, and then the council will hopefully then say they want more cycle events.
“And then it is more likely we will be able to bring back the Tour Series and potentially the Tour of Britain as well.”