A CYCLING grand prix that attracted some of the country's top riders has been sidelined because of poor spectator numbers.

The inaugural Clitheroe Cycling Grand Prix in 2005 attracted around 5,000 visitors but numbers fell by nearly 2,000 at last year's event as bad weather marred the race.

Ribble Valley council chiefs have said funds will now go into community cycling projects which will be used by more residents.

Organised by Ribble Valley Council and supported by local businesses, the race attracted top cyclists such as Olympic medallists Rob Hayles and Chris Newton.

The cyclists completed 60 laps of the town centre circuit and last year Ben Greenwood, 22, of Lancaster, the British under-23 road race champion, won the race.

Ribble Valley Council chief executive David Morris said: "As part of our budget review, members of the policy and finance committee decided to cancel the Clitheroe Cycling Grand Prix in view of poor attendance at last year's event.

"It costs £15,000 to stage the event and we felt it was difficult getting sponsorship for the race and attracting the best riders.

"I am very sorry it can not continue but we are focusing the money in different areas for the greater benefit of the community."

He said £20,000 would be used to develop cycling trails in Gisburn Forest.