Race organisers gear up to welcome world’s top cyclists
National and local organisers, local school children and one of the race competitors gathered at the grounds of Southwell Minster today (Tuesday) to help encourage local people and schools to get involved and make sure they turn out in force on Wednesday 6 September – when all eyes will be on Nottinghamshire.
175-kilometers of the County’s roads - starting in Mansfield and finishing in Newark on the same day - will be covered by stage four of the race which has a world-wide TV audience of millions. Around 1.6 million spectators are expected over the eight days.
The Bassetlaw section of the route will take riders into the idyllic Clumber Park and the picturesque Market Towns of Worksop and Retford before riding through Harworth and Bircotes, the home town of cycle racing legend Tom Simpson. The route will then skirt around the village of Scrooby, where the routes of the Mayflower Pilgrims were founded by William Brewster, before making a dash for the River Trent and the closing stages of the race in Newark.
Cllr Julie Leigh, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods at Bassetlaw District Council, said: “We look forward to welcoming some of the world’s best cyclists to our region and encourage cycling enthusiast and residents to line the route and cheer all the competitors on.
“Bassetlaw has some fantastic sights and those wishing to see the race pass through our District will not be short of vantage points. This is also an opportunity for schools, residents and businesses who live or work along the route to make the most of this national TV coverage by creating land art or banners that can be seen from the air, which really show off Bassetlaw as a region.
“We are also pleased that Stage Four of the OVO Energy Tour of Britain will pass through Harworth, the home town of legendary cyclist Tom Simpson.”
Councillor Kevin Rostance, Vice Chairman of communities and place committee for Nottinghamshire County Council, speaking from Southwell Minster, said:
“Not only will be the first time the County will have hosted an entire stage this prestigious race, it’s the only place in the Midlands to host it this year, so it’s quite a coup.
“The route will pass some of the County’s top tourist attractions including Sherwood Forest, Clumber Park, Newstead Abbey and Rufford Abbey and pass close by to Southwell Minster”
“We hope this race will inspire more Nottinghamshire residents, young and old to get out and about on their bike, whether that be getting to work or school, helping them keep fit, or simply getting out to enjoy the great Nottinghamshire outdoors.”
Year 6 pupils from Lowe’s Wong Junior school in Southwell helped prepare for the big day by brushing up on their own bike safety skills within the Minster’s grounds – under the supervision of instructors from Nottinghamshire County Council’s bikeability scheme run by Via - as well as getting top tips from Tour of Britain racer, Matt Cronshaw.
Marco Bradley age 11, from the school said: "I'm really excited about the Tour of Britain coming to Nottinghamshire. It will be an amazing chance to see some great cyclists!"
Matt, a former Tour series champion, who is planning on competing in this year’s race said:
“It’s great to see young people getting involved in cycling at an early age – I was just the same as I learned to ride a bike when I was three.
“I’m looking forward to racing through Nottinghamshire – not only it is the home of the world-famous Raleigh, we’ll also be passing through some fantastic sites such as Sherwood Forest and of course coming through Southwell itself.
“I hope local people get involved between now and the 6 September. I know from previous Tour of Britain races that having a big turn out is a massive boost. It really spurs the riders on.”
Brendan Moffett, Chief Executive of Marketing NG, said:
“Bringing such a high-profile event to Nottinghamshire will have a huge economic impact on the local visitor economy.”