Posted on: 29 August 2012
A generation of cyclists at Devon schools could be inspired with some special visits next month ahead of the return of the Tour of Britain.
Performance Cycles CMI, the under-23 cycling team run by the South West Bike Academy, will attend a number of school assemblies in September to encourage pupils to take up cycling or cycle more often.
Devon County Council is hosting Stage Seven of The Tour of Britain on Saturday 15 September, and as part of the council’s unique partnership with the team, some of its cycling stars of the future will visit schools to encourage pupils to take up cycling or cycle more often. They will also be promoting the health, fitness and sustainable travel benefits of cycling.
Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Highways and Transportation, said: “We’ve seen the impact of Great Britain’s impressive display at the Olympic Games and the buzz that has created. We’re hoping that can continue with The Tour of Britain and the school visits by these young cyclists from Performance Cycles CMI to engage with pupils in the lead up to The Tour. By hosting The Tour of Britain, one of our aims is to create a genuine cycling legacy which ensures Devon is a cycling county where more people can choose to cycle to school or work, as well as in their leisure time. Through these school visits, and with Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish riding The Tour, the next generation of cyclists in Devon can be inspired and encouraged to take an interest in cycling.”
In the run up to The Devon Stage of The Tour Performance Cycles CMI will be presenting over 20 assemblies in schools across Devon when the schools start their new term next week, as well as visiting cub and scout groups, to introduce and chat about one of Britain’s fastest growing sport.
The team currently has five riders aged between 17 and 23 who all hail from the region. The riders are Al Murison, Conor Ryan, Luke Dunbar, Todd Hotchkiss and Jack Reed.
So far this season the team’s results include the best U23 riders in both the South and SW championships, as well as top 30′s in international events in Morocco and Romania.
Performance Cycles CMI Team Manager David Walters said: “Over the last few years we have presented assemblies to over 50,000 schoolchildren in conjunction with Devon County Council and this year the demand has been exceptional. The sport has become a mainstream part of our culture and the interest is growing daily. A few years ago, many would have struggled to name a British rider; now Wiggins, Cavendish, Armitstead and Trott are recognisable names. Now all we have to do is find the next superstar, hopefully from our region.”
This year’s Devon Stage, the penultimate stage of the eight day Tour, will cover 106 miles (170.7km) of the county, starting in Barnstaple and heading through Dartmoor National Park on its way to finishing in Dartmouth. The Devon stage of Britain’s biggest free-to-watch sporting event includes three Skoda King of the Mountains climbs at South Hill, near Little Torrington, as well as Merrivale and Coffin Stone within Dartmoor National Park. There will also be intermediate Yodel Sprints at Great Torrington, Slapton Ley and Kingsbridge.
The Grand Depart of The Tour of Britain 2012 will take place in Ipswich on Sunday 9 September, with the final stage in Guildford on Sunday 16 September. Daily highlights of The Tour of Britain will be screened every evening on ITV4.