HUNDREDS of cyclists took to Worcestershire's roads today as part of the famous Tour of Britain cycle race.
For the second year running, the Faithful City was chosen as the venue for the race's official Tour Ride Sportive, a mass participation event that featured three routes to suit riders of all abilities.
Participants could choose a relatively easy 40 miles, a circular route taking in Pershore and Droitwich, the intermediate 75 mile route, including the climb to the Wyche Cutting in the Malvern Hills as used in previous Tours of Britain, and the professional-standard 100 mile circuit, which took riders out as far as Broadway and Bidford in the Vale of Evesham.
Some 850 riders took part, starting out from Hylton Road, in Worcester, which was temporarily closed off for the occasion, and ending on the other side of the river at the city's racecourse.
All riders received a finisher's medal and a sponsor goodie bag upon completion, along with a hot meal.
Peter Hodges, one of the organisers, said: "Once again, Worcestershire pulled out its best weather for the occasion, just as it did last year. It was a fine October day that was ideal for the event.
"There were about 850 riders starting off in the morning and as far as I know, everything went according to plan with no hitches."
Building on the success of 2015 when more than 800 riders took part, all three routes had been revised and improved this year to showcase some of the most attractive, and most challenging, routes in Worcestershire, once again combining the roads of the River Severn valley with climbs in the Malvern Hills, as used during previous editions of the Tour of Britain.
Tour of Britain race director Mick Bennett said: "2016 has been another fantastic year for cycling in this country, capped by the huge crowds who turned out for the Tour of Britain.”
The Tour Ride, which was launched in 2009, is the official sportive of the Tour of Britain, giving amateur cyclists the chance to have the professional experience and enjoy a full supported ride with feed stations on route
Since 2009, more than 15,000 amateur cyclists have taken on the challenge of a Tour Ride sportive in various locations around the UK.