26 April 2012
The Tour of Britain will aim to build on the Olympic fever of London 2012 when it returns to Devon in September.
The organisers of the Tour and Devon County Council have today (Thursday 26 April) announced that Stage Seven of this year’s event will be hosted in the county on Saturday 15 September.
Just one month after the London 2012 Olympic Games, the Tour will provide the opportunity for spectators to see Olympic medallists in action as 96 of the world’s top cyclists line up for the eight day race.
Over the past three years, Britain’s premier cycle race has brought an additional £14 million into the local economy as well as showcasing the county to a global TV audience.
This year’s Devon stage will start in Barnstaple and will cover around 106 miles (170.7km) of the county before finishing in Dartmouth. The route will again take in Dartmoor National Park, where there will be a celebration of cycling, and it will re-visit some towns which have hosted Stage starts and finishes in recent years, including Bideford, Hatherleigh and Tavistock. It will also wind its way through other communities including Instow, Great Torrington, Okehampton, Princetown, Buckfastleigh, Kingsbridge, Torcross and Stoke Fleming.
Team Sky’s current road cycling world champion Mark Cavendish and last year’s world champion Thor Hushovd, of BMC Racing, were among those who raced through the county last year as Lars Boom of Rabobank won the coveted IG Markets Gold Jersey. Devon rider Jon Tiernan Locke thrilled the home crowd last year, taking maximum points from the Skoda King of the Mountains climbs at Dartmoor National Park. He went on to win the Skoda King of the Mountains jersey and finished fifth overall in the Tour.
Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Highways and Transportation, said: “Last year’s Tour of Britain was described as the best ever, but we’ll be aiming to go one better in September, particularly during the Summer of Cycling. With the event so close to the Olympic Games there’s sure to be an even bigger buzz about this year’s race and hopefully we’ll get to see some Olympic medallists racing through the county. It was fantastic to have some home-grown success last year with Jon Tiernan Locke’s heroics, and I’m sure he’ll do Devon proud again.
“We’re the only South West stage this year and as the penultimate stage, Devon could prove to be a decisive point in the race, which is an added bonus for spectators. The Tour is also an opportunity to demonstrate to everyone watching the race, whether it’s on TV or by the roadside, why we’re a cycling county. This year’s route passes through communities which are linked to some of our most popular cycling routes, such as the Tarka Trail, Granite Way and Drake’s Trail, and hopefully it will encourage more people to take up cycling or give it another go.”
Last year was the first time an entire stage of The Tour had been held in Devon, having crossed the border into Somerset over the previous three years. According to an independent report, commissioned by The Tour, an additional £3.1 million was spent in the county on the day of last year’s Devon stage, with more than 125,000 spectators lining the route from Exeter to Exmouth, via Dartmoor National Park.
Councillor Will Mumford, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Economy, Enterprise and Employment, said: “The Tour has established itself as a firm fixture in Devon, attracting impressive crowd numbers which has generated vital income for the local economy. This year’s route is another showcase for our beautiful coast and countryside, illustrating that Devon is the perfect venue for such a prestigious event and a premier destination for cycling tourism.”
The national launch of the 2012 Tour, held in Guildford today, revealed that Britain’s premier cycle race will again take in England, Scotland and Wales. The Grand Depart will take place in Ipswich on Sunday 9 September, with the race finishing in Guildford on Sunday 16 September.
Endura have been confirmed as one of the teams who will compete over the eight days, giving Jon Tiernan Locke the opportunity to defend his title.
Jon said: “I’m definitely keen to ride in The Tour of Britain again. Last year went really well and it was truly special being on my local roads. The Devon stage was my main focus and I didn’t think about the King of the Mountains jersey until I went up the road and got a few points. That’s when I thought it was something I could definitely get. I’m not sure if I’ll have the same objective this year – it might be a stage win or the overall classification. But it’ll be a great occasion to have Britain’s best cycle race back in our local area. I know Dartmoor well and Dartmouth will be a stunning finish.”
Some of the other 16 world class teams which have been revealed, include Sky Professional Cycling Team, Garmin-Barracuda and Vacansoleil. It will also be the debut Tour of Britain for Liquigas-Cannondale and GreenEDGE.
Hugh Roberts, Chief Executive of The Tour organisers Sweetspot Group, said: “We always enjoy returning to Devon because it offers some of the most spectacular scenery and exciting racing. Spectators in Devon can look forward to a real treat as the Tour reaches its climax, and in this most important of years for British sport, we are looking forward to giving cycling fans the opportunity to see the best professional riders in the world competing on UK roads.”
The stages of the 2012 Tour of Britain are:
Stage 1 – Ipswich to Norfolk Showground, Norwich
Stage 2 – Nottingham – Knowsley, Merseyside
Stage 3 – Jedburgh – Dumfries
Stage 4 – Carlisle – Blackpool
Stage 5 – Stoke-on-Trent
Stage 6 – Welshpool – Caerphilly
Stage 7 – Barnstaple – Dartmouth
Stage 8 – Reigate – Guildford