THE OVO Energy Tour Series will return to Redditch next month, marking the eighth year that the town has hosted Britain’s leading televised cycle series.

Having hosted the event annually since 2012, the country’s leading teams and riders will return to Redditch on Thursday, May 9, almost exactly one year on from when JLT-Condor and Team Breeze triumphed in the men’s and women’s 2018 series openers there.

This year marks the third year in a row that Redditch will host round one.

The elite races, which will be preceded by an afternoon of community-based activities, will once again take place on a 1.4-kilometre (0.9-mile) circuit that starts/finishes on Church Green West and includes the challenging climb of Unicorn Hill.

"Redditch has been a cornerstone of the OVO Energy Tour Series," said race director Mick Bennett.

"Last year’s round in the town attracted a fantastic crowd of 16,000, and I’m sure that anybody who comes to watch Britain’s best riders in action on May 9 will once again see plenty of fun and fast sporting action – all for free."

Redditch has one of the most prestigious roll calls in the 10-year history of the OVO Energy Tour Series.

Individual winners in the town include four-time Olympic champion Laura Kenny (née Trott, 2015), Commonwealth Games medallist Jon Mould (2015 and 2016) and leading British road racer Hannah Barnes (2013).

This will also be the seventh time a women’s round of the series will take place in Redditch; no host venue in event history has hosted more.

As well as being an unticketed, free-to-attend event, the OVO Energy Tour Series is unique in the world of cycling, as the focus in both the men’s and women’s competition is on the teams, who battle for the overall title based on the performance of all five of their riders in each round.

Highlights of the OVO Energy Tour Series are screened on ITV4 and broadcast around the world, while event day will provide the opportunity for a range of community and cycling activities to take place on the closed road circuit in Redditch.

For updates and all the action on the day, keep checking the Advertiser website.