The iconic Milk Race, which ran for 33 years until the break up of the Milk Marketing board in 1993, is to return on May 26th, this time as a city centre circuit in Nottingham.
The ‘festival’ will be headlined by two elite cycling races, for men and women, both with a £5,000 prize purse, something race director and former stage winner of the race, Tony Doyle, believes could be the largest domestic winnings for a women’s race.
He told BikeBiz: "I’m delighted that the race is to return after a 20 year absence, it’s one that many long time cyclists will fondly remember. Nottingham’s City council was very keen to get behind the event, having just committed to a cycle hire scheme for the city. The 1.2km circuit will loop the market square and will be open to the crowds to have a spin on before the headline races. There will also be a series of rides into the centre from the outskirts early in the day, with secure bike parking supplied for those who want to get involved in the festivities."
The public rides start at 11:30 with Elite Women’s race at 14:15 and Elite Men’s at 17:45.
Former race winner, Chris Walker, is to see his daughter compete this time around, among others who were previously involved in the race’s heydey.
Sandy Wilkie, chairman of The Dairy Council and the Milk Marketing Forum, said: “After the Milk Marketing Board was disbanded in 1994, there was no central authority to orchestrate the generic promotion of milk, and The Milk Race disappeared.
“This was a huge shame because The Milk Race is undoubtedly the most well remembered and most well regarded cycling event that there has ever been in this country. So to bring it back, and to re-establish such a strong link between milk and sport, is a very exciting development.
“Much like British cycling, the ‘white stuff’ has gone through something of a renaissance in recent years through the establishment of the celebrity ‘make mine Milk’ campaign, which has included Olympic champion cyclists Ed Clancy and Laura Trott. It’s therefore a perfect partnership for what promises to be a momentous occasion in Nottingham in May.
“Nottingham was chosen as the location for the 2013 event both because of the city’s cycling heritage – it houses the headquarters of leading brand Raleigh – and for its outstanding commitment to community cycling.
“Our future plans are yet to be decided, but the aim is to use the Nottingham event as a platform to grow from, and to return The Milk Race to somewhere like the size and scale that it used to be.”
The race, which will include Raleigh’s own elite team, as well as the likes of Ed Clancy, Dani King and Elinor Barker will be televised on Eurosport.