Essex

Hadleigh Farm 2012 mountain bike site to host youth event

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Media captionThousands of cycling fans headed to the 550-acre site at Hadleigh Farm

Teenagers will be the first to use the Olympic mountain bike course in Essex after the Games, it has been announced.

Hadleigh Farm played host to the 2012 mountain bike competition this weekend that saw 40,000 fans attend the events.

Now the British Cycling Youth inter-regional mountain bike championships for riders under the age of 16 will be held on the site in October.

Some adjustments to the course will be made before the event.

Stephen Castle, of the Conservative-run Essex County Council, said he hoped Team GB's cycling success and having the world's best compete at Hadleigh Farm would encourage young people who had taken up the sport.

"It is great to know that young British mountain bikers... will not only be inspired by the performances of the athletes they have seen, but also by knowing they could be the first to compete at the London 2012 Olympic Mountain Bike venue after the London 2012 Games have gone," said Mr Castle.

Gary Coltman, manager of British Cycling's talent programme, said: "The championship event is a very new event to our youth competition programme.

"Having the opportunity to stage it at a venue that will very soon be regarded as one of the best mountain bike courses in the world, can only be fantastic for the young athletes."

The Olympic mountain bike events saw Julie Bresset from France win gold in the women's race on Saturday and Jaroslav Kulhavy of the Czech Republic win gold in the men's race.

Essex County Council, in partnership with the Salvation Army which owns the site, recently secured planning permission to adapt the course to make it safe for the public to use.

Two biking tracks will be built, together with a bicycle skills area and a visitor's centre, and Hadleigh Country Park will be expanded.

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