WINCHESTER city centre is set to become an urban racetrack as 300 cyclists strap up for the city’s Criterium competition.

Ninety top cyclists will take to the streets next Sunday (August 17) after organisers split one of the most competitive races into two categories to cope with demand.

Eight races will run from 2pm-7pm, and 20 cyclists will be competing in the Corporate Challenge.

Families will also be able to cycle The Broadway on the day as part of a free CycleFest running from 10am to 2pm and organised by the city council.

Cllr Jan Warwick, member for Environment, Health and Wellbeing said: “We are delighted to be a part of this ‘Formula One’ style event as Winchester City Council is keen to promote cycling in the city and throughout the district in every way.“Be prepared to see some exhilarating races at close quarters sprinting out of Winchester’s historic street corners and the intensive competition in the last lap for the finish of each race in the Upper High Street.”

Organisers Pennine Events have recruited local electric bicycle store Cytronex to sponsor this year’s races and are already looking for businesses to partner the 2015 event.

Cytronex designer Mark Searles said: “Having been involved in events all over the country and elsewhere in Europe, it is great to be able to sponsor a road race in our own city.”

Last year more than 3,000 people flocked to Winchester to watch the races.