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Giant Cyclist Dramatic Backdrop for Tour of Britain

Pendle hill giant cyclist
An artist’s impression of how the giant cyclist will look. Please note this impression shows the Barley side of Pendle Hill, whereas the giant cyclist will actually be installed on the Clitheroe side of Pendle Hill.
Published Tuesday, 01 September 2015

A giant cyclist constructed from 1,500 metres of horticultural fleece will be installed on Pendle Hill overlooking Clitheroe this week heralding Stage 2 of the 2015 Aviva Tour of Britain.

The cyclist - the size of one-and-a-half football pitches - will be constructed by celebrated land artist Philippe Handford, of Barrowford, and an eight-strong team.


The cyclist, created in the style of the famous Uffington White Horse, will be pointing towards the Nick o' Pendle, the first King of the Mountain climb in Stage 2 of this year's Tour of Britain.


Stage 2 of the Tour will see the world's top cyclists, among them Sir Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish, power through 154km of Ribble Valley and Pendle on Monday, 7 September.


The event starts in Clitheroe at 11am and passes through Pendleton before heading for the tough climb to the Nick, where the peloton will snake past the giant cyclist, which will undulate in the breeze, giving the impression of movement.


Ribble Valley Borough Council deputy leader Terry Hill said: "The Tour of Britain is the biggest event in the borough's 40-year history and we want to mark it with a spectacular piece of land art similar to those in Yorkshire during the Tour de France Grand Depart.


"Philippe has considerable experience of constructing artworks on this scale and we are looking forward to seeing the cyclist, which will be visible from across the valley and from far and wide.


"This will be a truly stand-out feature of what promises to be a fantastic event for residents and spectators like."


It will take Philippe and eight volunteers five days to construct the cyclist from at least six 250m rolls of horticultural fleece normally used by farmers and horticulturalists to protect land and crops from frost.


Philippe, whose former works include a massive 1612 on the Barley side of Pendle Hill during the 400th anniversary of the Lancashire Witches, said: "This is one of the largest installations I have ever undertaken and draws inspiration from the Uffington White Horse, a prehistoric figure on the upper slopes of White Horse Hill in Oxfordshire that is considered a masterpiece of minimalist art.


"Pendle Hill is also an ancient hill with a rich and fascinating history that dominates Ribble Valley and is much-loved by residents and visitors.


“As well as providing a dramatic focal point for Stage 2 of the Tour of Britain, the giant cyclist will hopefully engage and excite spectators and put Ribble Valley on the international map."


Philippe and his team will deconstruct the 150m cyclist the day after the race, leaving no trace of it.


The 2015 Tour of Britain is the biggest event to be hosted by Ribble Valley in its 40-year history and will see the world’s top cyclists and tens of thousands of spectators descend on the borough.


The event 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.


Residents and spectators are reminded that roads in Clitheroe and Colne will be closed during the day and there will be rolling road closures along the route through Ribble Valley and Pendle.


The race starts in Clitheroe at 11am, where most of the town centre will be closed to traffic. Road closures will operate from 4am to 1pm in Woone Lane at the Eshton Terrace junction, Castle Street, King Street, King Lane, Church Street, Church Brow, Wellgate, Albion Street and York Street.


Road closures will be in place on Pendle Hill, the first King of the Mountain, from 8.30am until 11.30am, from the Pendleton junction to the T-junction in the centre of Sabden.


Further details, including route maps, timings, spectator zones, road closures and parking restrictions, are available at


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