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Virgin Money to Sponsor the UK's Biggest Cycling Festival

by Adam Tranter

Virgin Money has announced that, following the acquisition of Northern Rock at the start of this year, it will continue to sponsor the UK's biggest cycling festival - the Cyclone.  Northern Rock previously enjoyed a long-standing relationship with the Cyclone event, and the first 'Virgin Money Cyclone' will be held between 28 June and 1 July 2012.

Paul Lloyd, Marketing Director at Virgin Money said: "Now that Virgin Money and Northern Rock are united as one business, I am delighted to support this fantastic event.  Virgin Money is committed to supporting the communities we serve.  This event is an excellent showcase for what the North East has to offer and I am proud to have the Virgin Money brand associated with it."

Peter Harrison with Ross Creber, Tom Last and James Moss

Virgin Money Cyclone event organizer Peter Harrison said: "Northern Rock has supported the event since the very beginning, and I am delighted that this relationship will carry on through Virgin Money. The event has firmly established itself on the cycling calendar and, with the backing of Virgin Money, I am sure that it can continue to go from strength to strength!"

The inaugural Virgin Money Cyclone will feature a new Thursday evening ride. This more relaxed ride is specifically aimed at less experienced riders and young families. Called the Tyne Six Bridges Leisure Ride, it will feature two gentle routes of 9½ and 14½ miles along the banks of the River Tyne.  Starting from Newcastle Quayside, the ride will take in the Millennium, Tyne, Swing, High Level, Redheugh and Scotswood bridges.  The rides start at 7pm on Thursday 28 June and cost £6 per person. 

As in previous years, the weekend will also include the Leazes Criteriums on Friday evening, the hugely popular Virgin Money Cyclone Challenge rides on the Saturday - with a choice of 33, 63 and 104 mile routes - and the Beaumont Trophy Premier Calendar race featuring professional riders on the Sunday.  A new addition to the Sunday programme for this year is the Curlew Cup.  Following the success of the Women's National Road Race Championships as part of the Cyclone festival in 2011, the Curlew Cup will be the first ever all ladies race held in the North East, and will form part the women's National Series.

Over £500,000 has been raised for charity through previous Cyclone events. Virgin Money Giving is now the official not-for-profit sponsorship website of the Virgin Money Cyclone, offering fundraising support to Cyclone Challenge riders who raise money for charity.  Virgin Money Giving also collects Gift Aid for free, so charities could receive £12.15 in total for every £10 a rider is sponsored.*

You can follow the event on Twitter @vmcyclone and join the group on

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