Top Cycle Tour comes to Clitheroe and ColnePublished Wednesday, 18 March 2015
The world’s top cyclists and tens of thousands of spectators look set to descend on Ribble Valley and Pendle in September, when the two boroughs host Stage 2 of the 2015 Friends Life Tour of Britain.
Stage 2 will see 20 of the world’s top cycling teams, including Olympic and world champions, and Tour de France stage winners, power through Ribble Valley and Pendle from Clitheroe to Colne, taking in the Nick o’ Pendle climb, Dunsop Bridge, which is the official Centre of the Kingdom, Slaidburn in the Forest of Bowland and Barnoldswick.
Ribble Valley Borough Council leader Stuart Hirst said: “Ribble Valley is one of the UK’s premier visitor destinations, with a national reputation for fine food and drink, outstanding independent shops and stunning countryside.
“The Tour of Britain attracts a huge following, as well as an international television audience, so is the ideal showcase for Ribble Valley’s many attractions.
“We are delighted to be hosting the Tour of Britain and look forward to giving the elite cyclists, their teams and tens of thousands of visitors a warm Ribble Valley welcome.”
After departing from Clitheroe in the morning, the race will pass back through the town in the afternoon, before the run to the finish through Nelson and into Colne.
Pendle councillor Paul White, who has responsibility for enterprise, growth and promotion, said: “We’re really excited to be hosting this year’s Tour of Britain. Stage Two is the shortest but toughest of the stages, so it will be a great one to watch.
“The Tour is the country’s largest free-to-spectate sporting event, attracting thousands of spectators to each stage.
“According to an independent report, host areas can expect an injection of over £2m into their economy.
“Pendle is a hidden gem and this gives us an amazing opportunity to show the world what we have to offer!
“We’re really excited and hope that everyone will get behind the Tour and help make it a fantastic event.”
It will be the first visit of the Friends Life Tour of Britain to the two boroughs since 2010, when the opening stage of the race passed through on its way from Rochdale to Blackpool, and the first time that Clitheroe or Colne have been a host venue.
Commenting on the announcement, Mick Bennett, race director at Friends Life Tour of Britain organisers SweetSpot, said:
“We are pleased to be bringing the race to Ribble Valley and Pendle for the first time and look forward to showcasing the area via the race and associated live television coverage.
“Stage 2 will be a testing route popular with fans, who will be able to catch the action in more than one location.”
Stage Two will start in Clitheroe town centre, completing a clockwise route via the Nick o’ Pendle, Longride, Dunsop Bridge and Slaidburn in the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
After Gisburn, the route will heads into Pendle via Barnoldswick and Earby, before briefly returning to Clitheroe and then on to Whalley, Nelson and the finish in Colne. Further details of the route, including Ordnance Survey maps, will be announced in the summer, along with details of the 20 competing teams.
Ian Wilkinson, who lives in Chatburn and rides for Team Raleigh-GAC, said he was looking forward to taking part in a home stage.
“Ribble Valley and Pendle are fantastic places to cycle. The landscape is challenging and very dramatic. I’m sure this year’s competitors will enjoy Stage Two,” he said.
The 2015 Friends Life Tour of Britain will start in Wales for the first time in the modern race’s history, with Anglesey hosting the start of the race, which finishes eight days later in the heart of London.
The Tour of Britain will be broadcast internationally by 16 television channels across 139 territories in Europe, Australia and the USA. ITV will screen three hours of live coverage every day and a one-hour highlights programme at night.
The Friends Life Tour of Britain is British Cycling’s premier road cycling event giving cycling fans the opportunity to see the world’s best teams and riders competing on their doorstep.