A CYCLING event which attracts hundreds of professional competitiors to the district every year will ride out differently this summer.

The annual Tour of the Reservoir takes place on roads around Derwent Reservoir, and the picturesque route also takes in Edmundbyers and Blanchland.

But this year, the event, which will take place on Saturday, June 22, and Sunday, June 23, is part of the Consett Cycle Festival, to celebrate the County Durham town’s recovery from the loss of its steelworks back in 1980.

Day one of the tour will be very much in accordance with its rich 38-year-history, with both men’s and women’s races starting on the B6306 at Edmundbyers, and finishing beside the big tower at Derwent Reservoir.

But day two will see both the men’s 110-mile, and the women’s 70-mile, races starting in Consett town centre, while taking in both Edmundbyers and Blanchland, as well as Castleside, and other communities.

The Sunday will be part of a wider festival in Consett, featuring live music, a stunt bike display, a food market, and a wide range of children’s attractions.

The event will also mark 25 years since the formation of Project Genesis, the trust charged with reviving Consett’s fortunes.

Project Genesis chairman John O’Connor said: “Next year marks the 40th anniversary of the closure of our steelworks, and while it was devastating, it didn’t prove fatal.

“What this town will do this month is give itself a pat on the back and have a party. The town, and the fantastic people here, deserve it and we’re delighted this prestigious bike race will be part of it.”

Race organiser Mike Hodgson said: “We were approached about being part of the festival and decided this was a great way to promote both our event, and also celebrate the good work that has been made in turning around Consett’s fortunes.

“There will be 130 men and 90 women professional cyclists. As always, it’s an opportunity for seasoned cycling supporters to watch the action, and also for children and other people to come along and be inspired.”

Dame Sarah Storey was among the competitors during last year’s Tour of the Reservoir. The names of those taking part this time around are set to be announced soon.