Cyclefest 2016: Hundreds set for new Isle of Man cycling festival

Tour Series
The event will include the second professional race on Manx soil in as many months

Hundreds of professional and amateur riders will compete in a new four-day Isle of Man cycling festival which begins later on Thursday.

The island has a long cycling history having staged Britain's biggest festival, International Cycle Week, for almost 70 years until 2003.

Cyclefest organiser Paul Philips said it will celebrate the island's "unique culture, environment and terrain".

The event will include the opening stage of the Pearl Izumi Tour.

Many of the UK's leading professional teams will take part, with riders completing about 30 laps of a one-mile (1.5km) closed road circuit in Ramsey.

Isle of Man
The three-day festival will utilise the Isle of Man's famous TT course and unique cycling terrain

Amongst those competing will be Ian Bibby, Ed Clancy and Mark Christian.

It will be the second professional race held on the island in as many months following the Manx International Grand Prix.

The festival will also include a 'mass participation' ride, mountain bike challenge, BMX GP and 82 mile (132 km) road race.

This year, including household names such as Mark Cavendish and Peter Kennaugh, eight Manx cyclists were selected for the Great Britain Olympic Development squad.

Organisers said they hope the event will help to inspire the next generation of Manx talent.

"These are the very leafy lanes and windswept moors that have helped forge champions like Cavendish and Kennaugh," Mr Phillips added.

A full event schedule can be found on the Cyclefest website.external-link

The three-day event is described by organisers as the ultimate multi-discipline cycling challenge