UCLan Sports Arena welcomes cycling elite for community event

14 October 2014

Lyndsey Boardman

Emma Pooley and Tanja Slater open Lancashire’s first Breeze Challenge

Professional road cyclists Emma Pooley and Tanja Slater joined hundreds of female cycling enthusiasts at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) last weekend at the region’s first ever Breeze Challenge Event.

Emma, who has won a time trial world title, national titles, an Olympic medal, and numerous professional race titles before retiring last month, and Tanja, a former GB elite professional triathlete turned professional cyclist, opened the cycling challenge at UCLan which attracted new and experienced cyclists from around the region.

Speaking to online women’s sports magazine Sport Sister, Emma commented:

“The Breeze programme is a fantastic initiative that encourages women to get back on a bike, and enjoy the health and social benefits that recreational cycling has to offer.”

The event, on Sunday 12 October, brought a festival atmosphere to the City as hundreds of women seeking a fun and supported challenge took on two distances of either 50km or 100km around the Lancashire countryside; both of which began at UCLan Sports Arena.


The Lancashire Breeze Challenge Event, hosted by UCLan and in partnership with Preston City Council and British Cycling, allowed riders to stretch their legs along the Fylde Coast and Wyre Valley.

Both routes headed towards Great Eccleston at which the 100km continued deeper into the Lancashire countryside towards Pilling, Cockerham and Abbeystead before returning south via Scorton. The shorter 50km ride headed towards Bilsborrow before re-joining the 100km riders at Inglewhite to head home to the finish via Broughton and Woodplumpton for some relaxation and celebrations.

Supporters waiting at UCLan Sports Arena were treated to a BMX track to race around, an inflatable obstacle course provided by the Army, a children’s cycling course, a penalty shootout and entertainment from Blackpool Circus while they waited for the riders to return.

Dr Adrian Ibbetson, Academic Director of Sport at UCLan, commented: “The event was a resounding success. The presence of Emma and Tanja really motivated the riders and brought a great atmosphere to UCLan Sports Arena."


"We are proud to play our part in Lancashire’s first ever Breeze Challenge Event and bring the benefits of cycling to the wider community.”

UCLan Sports Arena is based in Cottam and provides facilities for athletics, rugby league, rugby union, football, hockey, netball, tennis and cycling. The arena also has seven floodlit training grids, an 18 station fitness suite and a strength and conditioning room with Olympic weight lifting equipment.

View photos from the event.