Media opportunity - VIP treat for Leeds pupils taking on the School Cycle Challenge

Pedal powered primary school pupils from all over Leeds will be descending on Temple Newsam Park next week to try to become the next Chris Froome at their very own cycling competition.

A host of international cycling royalty will be there to cheer on the sporty pupils, and present the prizes at the Leeds School Cycle Challenge, on Tuesday 1 July.

Olympic gold medallist Chris Boardman and five-time winner of the Tour de France Bernard Hinault, will be joined by Christian Prudhomme, director of Le Tour and Welcome to Yorkshire’s Gary Verity to meet and encourage the city’s next generation of cyclists.

Media opportunity:

When: Tuesday 1 July, 9am to 3pm (please see itinerary below for specific timings)

Where: Temple Newsam Park

Members of the media are welcome to attend the Leeds School Cycle Challenge. Bernard Hinault, will start the Yellow cycle race at 1.15pm. All VIPs will meet the children at around 2pm, and Chris Boardman and the Lord Mayor will present the winners at around 2.30pm.

The event which will unite pupils from 50 primary schools and five Specialist Inclusive Learning Centres (SILCs) across the city will have races suitable for all ages and abilities, including a scooter race and an adapted cycle race. The challenge brings the pupils together in the week leading up the Tour de France Grand Départ – taking place in Leeds on Saturday 5 July.

The pupils will be taking part in the ‘Yellow’ endurance race, a ‘Green’ sprint/ time trial, a ‘Polka Dot’ uphill race, a ‘White’ scooter race for younger children, a ‘Red’ scooter and assault course race, and an adapted cycle race for SILC pupils.

Chris Boardman who himself won three stages of the Tour de France, as well as setting numerous world records (some of which still stand) and is one of Britain's most successful cyclists to date, will present the jersey race winners with their prizes alongside Leeds City Council leader Cllr Keith Wakefield.

As well as the cycling ‘glitterati’ the event will also be attended by the Lord Mayor of Leeds Cllr David Congreve, the Leeds Children’s Mayor Charlotte Williams, and the council’s deputy leader Cllr Judith Blake.

The Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor David Congreve said:

“I am very much looking forward to seeing a fantastic competition between all these schools; I hope everyone has been training hard!

“It will be an amazing experience for these youngsters, especially having some fantastic cycling celebrities in the audience.

“I am being accompanied by the Leeds Children’s Mayor, Charlotte, who will be seeing her manifesto aims come to fruition at this event – as her key ambition was to see more Leeds children taking up cycling. What an achievement!”

Councillor Judith Blake, executive board member for children and families said:

“I am delighted that these high profile cycling VIPs have taken time out of their very busy schedules, to attend our school cycle challenge. I am sure they will be an inspiration to all the children taking part, who will no doubt try their hardest to impress such important visitors.

“The Tour de France is such an important event to happen in our city, and the School Cycle Challenge will make sure that the pupils involved are able to share this wonderful experience. I hope even more children across Leeds are inspired to take up cycling thanks to the legacy of Le Tour coming to Yorkshire.”

Lucky pupils from Gildersome Primary School will also get their very own piece of Tour de France memorabilia, when they receive a signed jersey donated especially to them by Spanish cyclist Alejandro Valverde. The pupils will be presented with the Movistar team cyclist’s jersey at Tuesday’s event. The school contacted Valverde after they were allocated him as their ‘mascot’ to research as part of the challenge.

All schools participating in the event were invited to be included in a draw to have a potential 2014 Tour de France cyclist as their school mascot. The cycle mascot initiative has been arranged in order to inspire pupils to learn about their allocated cyclists through fun activities, the history of the Tour de France, the riders themselves and what they do to achieve becoming a top class cyclist.

The Leeds School Cycle Challenge has been organised by Leeds City Council’s influencing travel behaviour team, in partnership with children’s services and public health.


Itinerary for the school cycle challenge

Primary school races

9:30 – 12:40 White Jersey / Red Jersey / Green Jersey / Polka Dot Jersey races at various locations throughout the park

12:40 – 1:10 Pupil lunch

1:15 – 2:15 Yellow Jersey race

2:30 – 3pm Award presentations in the Amphitheatre

Adapted cycle race

10:40 – 12:30 Adapted cycle races

12:30 – 12:45 Pupil lunch

12:45 – 1pm Award presentations at the Oval Cinder track


For media enquiries, please contact:

Emma Whittell, Leeds City Council press office, on (0113) 2474713

Email: emma.whittell@leeds.gov.uk