Ayrshire Alps cycling festival this weekend

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Up to 300 cyclists are expected to descend on Girvan this weekend (17/18th August) for the Ayrshire Alps Cycle Festival. Hosted by the local Ayr Roads Cycle Club, the weekend will feature six events including the famous David Bell Memorial Race.

With backing from South Ayrshire Council and the South Carrick Community, the Ayrshire Alps festival is set to showcase the fantastic road cycling around the Ayrshire Alps area.

The weekend kicks off very early on Saturday with Audax riders setting out at 8am to cover a 200km circuit including the Raiders Road and Carrick Forest Drive. Participants have to navigate between controls that are only open for a limited time, adding to the challenge. The final control will not close until after 9pm, making a very long day in the saddle for some.

On Saturday afternoon the roads around Victory Park will be closed to accommodate the best talent in Scotland as Girvan plays host to the Scottish Power Renewables Youth Series. Riders from as far afield as Aberdeen will be down for the circuit racing with events for Under 16, Under 14 and Under 12. The local Ayr Burners Youth Cycling members will be hoping to put on a good show in front of a home crowd. Greg Henderson of Troon and Douglas Glendinning of Ayr have both been showing great improvement in the last couple of weeks.

The climax of the weekend comes on Sunday with the 48th edition of the David Bell Memorial Race. Organisers have attracted a top quality field including all the best riders in Scotland and a team from Northern Ireland. The Herbalife LeisureLakesBikes team are returning direct from a team training camp in Leadville USA, and will be looking to secure a good result for reigning Scottish champion Gary Hand. However, Ben Greenwood of IG Sigma Sport is unlikely to go down without a fight. Second last year to South African Christopher Jennings, Greenwood knows the disappointment of missing out on the top spot and will be looking to make amends. A fifty strong field will depart Girvan at 11am for the 81 mile race featuring the climbs of Carleton, Screws and Byne. Spectators should gather in South Park Avenue for the finish at 14:20.

This week organisers announced they would be supporting local triathlete Grant Young on his quest to raise £2,000 for the Ayrshire Hospice by cycling from Scotland to Romania. Participants over the weekend will be encouraged to sponsor Grant on this exciting voyage for a great