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Tour of Britain Veteran to Lead People’s Peloton

Published Tuesday, 01 September 2015

A Whalley man who finished 11th in the 1968 Tour of Britain is to lead a “people’s peloton” prior to Stage 2 of this year’s race.

Stage 2 of the 2015 Aviva Tour of Britain will power through 154km of Ribble Valley and Pendle between Clitheroe and Colne on Monday 7 September.

A People’s Peloton comprising Ribble Valley’s community champions and unsung heroes and heroines will undertake a 1km circuit of Clitheroe town centre under police escort prior to the top race, which starts at 11am in Castle Street.

It will be led by Howard Walmsley, 72, who took part in the Tour of Britain in 1968 and 1970, finishing 11thand 21st respectively. The former Whalley Golf Club captain has championed cycling throughout his life and founded the Clayton Velo Cycling Club. He also represented England in the 1969 Tour of Holland.

He will be joined at the head of the People’s Peloton by Ribble Valley Borough Council leader Stuart Hirst, who was instrumental in bringing Stage 2 of this year’s Tour of Britain to Ribble Valley.

Howard Walmsley said: “I think the Tour of Britain is great for Ribble Valley and I am delighted to be taking part in the People’s Peloton. When I see cyclists now, I wish I was 21 again.”

Also taking part will be Clitheroe disability activist Simon O’ Rourke, who started Ribble Valley Shopmobility and the Ribble Valley Tramper Treks scheme that offers residents with restricted mobility the use of all-terrain electric buggies to access the countryside. Wheelchair-user Simon, who will be using a specially adapted bike, said he couldn’t wait to take part.

“I am delighted to have been nominated for the People’s Peloton. The Tour of Britain will be amazing for Ribble Valley and I can’t wait to take part.”

Other participants in the People’s Peloton include Ribblesdale Rotarian Richard Dugdale, who has raised over £10,000 for charity from sponsored bike rides; Norman Tenray, who is chief executive of construction group OBAS and a fundraiser for the Rosemere Cancer Foundation, and community nurse Nicky Scorah, who is a keen cyclist and biked across Kenya on behalf of Women v Cancer.

Ribble Valley Borough Council chief executive Marshal Scott called on spectators to give the People’s Peloton a resounding cheer as it made its way around the town centre.

He said: “The People’s Peloton will give participants the opportunity to take part in a major sporting event, as well as receive recognition for their positive contribution to the community.

“Each member of the peloton is an unsung hero or heroine, who has devoted their time to cycling, the community and good causes, some of them raising tens of thousands of pounds for charity from sponsored bike rides.

“The People’s Peloton has certainly captured the public imagination and this is our opportunity to give our unsung heroes and heroines a resounding thank you.”

The People’s Peloton will set off from the official race start in Castle Street and follow the race route through town, ending in Whalley Road in time to watch the Tour of Britain pass.

The Tour of Britain will see the world’s top cyclists, among them Sir Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish power through Ribble Valley and Pendle on a tough 154km route from Clitheroe to Colne.

It is the biggest event to be hosted by Ribble Valley in its 40-year history and 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.

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