IN THE year the Tour De France is heading to the UK, Swindon has been selected to host a cycling challenge of its own.

The town has been selected as one of more than 100 locations across the country to host British Cycling’s Sky Ride Local programme.

Between June and September, more than 35 cycling challenges are being held of varying distances, from three to 30 miles, all of which will take in different sites of Swindon.

Mum-of-two Vany Mohanraj, 33, who lives in the town centre, has already signed up to a four-mile ride which will set off from the Oasis Leisure Centre in June.

She said: “It’s the first time I have ridden a bike in this country, since borrowing my brother’s bike as a young child living in Sri Lanka. I’ve been practicing at the Learn To Cycle session at the County Ground and building up my confidence.

“I’m looking forward to the Sky Ride because cycling is a very sociable sport and we’ll also hopefully get some sunshine.”

Also riding is former engineer Neil Daycock, 59, who will be leading some of the events.

“I lived out in Highworth, so cycling was a necessity to get around and socialise,” he said.

“I also really enjoyed it and in my 20s joined a British Cycling-affiliated club called Swindon Wheelers, so I could start racing. That took me all over the country, entering 10 to 100-mile time trial races.”