The UK's largest cycle race, The Tour of Britain, is returning to Devon this autumn.
Stage 2 of the race will take place on Monday September 3, starting in the UK’s newest town, Cranbrook, in East Devon and finishing in Barnstaple, North Devon.
It will be hosted by Devon County Council, supported by North Devon Council and East Devon District Council and working with Barnstaple Town Council and Cranbrook Town Council.
It will be the tenth time in 12 years the Tour has visited Devon with the county hosting starts and finishes annually between 2009 and 2014 with the last Devon Stage held in 2016.
The race will mean another massive boost to Devon’s economy. Independent economic reports estimate that the race has generated around £37million of extra spending over the past nine Devon stages, with around 1.5 million people lining the county’s roads to watch.
This year’s Devon stage will start in Cranbrook, opposite St. Martin's CofE Primary & Nursery School, in what will be the first time the town has ever hosted a global or national sporting event.
The race will conclude in Barnstaple, on The Strand alongside the River Taw. Further details of this year’s route will be announced by the Tour of Britain at their national launch at the beginning of June.
For your chance to WIN a pair of VIP hospitality tickets to the Tour of Britain Devon Stage visit the Devon County Council stand at the Devon County Show from May 17-19.
Councillor Stuart Hughes, DCC’s Cabinet Member for Highways Management with a remit for cycling, said: “The last two Devon Stages were unforgettable occasions. Record breaking crowds turned out across the county and boosted the local economy by almost £11m.
“Now it returns to Devon after a year’s break. Organisers were so impressed with the atmosphere and organisation of the previous Devon stages they didn’t hesitate in wanting to return.
“Devon is such a beautiful county and when it comes to considering routes we were spoilt for choice. This year we have decided to take a different route, starting in the UK’s newest town Cranbrook and returning to North Devon for the first time since 2012, that year’s stage start.
“We’re proud that Devon will again be a key feature of the race which promises to provide another great international show case for Devon as a premier destination for cycling tourism.”
Councillor Tom Wright, East Devon District Council’s Portfolio holder for the Environment, said: “The Tour of Britain clearly has great confidence that our beautiful area provides a wonderful backdrop for the event. Starting the stage in Cranbrook will underline our commitment to the young families who have made Cranbrook their home.”
North Devon Council Lead Member for Health and Wellbeing Councillor Dick Jones said: “It’s great to be able to welcome the Tour back to North Devon and Barnstaple. The start we hosted in 2012 was a great success, but staging a finish should be even more exciting. To have live coverage of the event broadcast to an international TV audience is a great advert for our beautiful local area and should encourage huge numbers of people to get out there on their bikes.”
Councillor Kevin Blakey, Chairman of Cranbrook Town Council, said: “This is great news for Cranbrook. I am sure that everyone in the town will be delighted that, as one of Britain’s Healthy New Towns, we have been chosen as the starting point for the second stage of one of the biggest sporting events of the year. We look forward to welcoming everyone involved in the Tour, and the spectators who will be sure to give the competitors a rousing send-off. "
The Mayor of Barnstaple Councillor Julie Hunt, said: “Barnstaple is really looking forward to welcoming back the Tour of Britain and the world’s top cycling teams.
“In 2012, we held a stage start and it was fantastic event, this year we are holding the stage finish.
“The race will not only be a great spectacle it will provide a welcome boost to the local economy, and who knows, it may even inspire some young cycling champions of the future!”