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Benwick pushes the bike out for the big race

Villagers have pulled out all the stops to welcome scores of cyclists who will be racing through Benwick next weekend (July 26).

Benwick bike race

Members of the Benwick In Bloom group have created three themed floral displays, complete with bikes, to make sure the village is smartly decked out for the Circuit of the Fens amateur race.

More than 80 cyclists have signed up for the 76-mile race, which consists of eight laps of a circuit round Benwick, with riders lapping every 20 minutes or so.

It was originally planned just as a support race for the Circuit of the Fens Pro-Elite Classic, a 135-mile race through the countryside around Whittlesey. But that had to be cancelled late last month after key sponsors pulled out.

Jill Hindle, chairman of Benwick In Bloom, said: "As soon as we heard about the cycle race we decided we wanted to support it in a special way. We picked patriotic red, white and blue for the colours because we also wanted to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War and the centenary of the First World War."

Sunday's race starts at noon outside the Five Alls pub, finishing there at about 2.45pm.

The course will follow Doddington Road out of the village, past the Flood's Ferry Road before turning into Dykemoor Drove. After another short stretch on Doddington Road, it joins the run along Forty Foot Bank before turning into Ibberson's Drove. Then it turns right on to Ramsey Road and left into the High Street to complete one lap.

Colin Coe, the race organiser, said: "It is sad that we had to cancel the main Elite race but Whittlesey's loss is Benwick's gain and this will definitely be a great event to watch."