Communities urged to help showcase Northumberland to worldwide audience during Tour of Britain
With only 50 days to go until the OVO Energy Tour of Britain, communities are being urged to get ready to showcase Northumberland to a worldwide audience.
The race is expected to be broadcast to 166 countries, while ITV4 will once again screen live free-to-air coverage of each stage, along with a nightly highlights programme of the best of the action.
Coun Peter Jackson, leader of Northumberland County Council, said: “It’s a great way of showing the fantastic historic assets we have got across our county.
“The last time the race came to Northumberland, tens of thousands turned out to cheer on the riders and we very much hope to build on that and that people in communities across the county will get involved in this international event right on our doorstep.
“We want towns and villages along the race route bedecked in the red and yellow of the Northumberland flag so we can really impress upon the world how proud we are of this great county we live in.”
Stage 3 on Monday, September 9 will start from Berwick-upon-Tweed, heading through Ford and Wooler and down the Northumberland coast, before heading into North Tyneside through Whitley Bay and Tynemouth before turning inland alongside the banks of the River Tyne on to Newcastle’ Quayside, before the final turn on to Dean Street and Grey Street for a spectacular city centre finish.
Coun Cath Homer, cabinet member for culture, arts, leisure and tourism, hopes it will be a catalyst for people to get into cycling and enjoy the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.
“There’s no better place to start the stage than here in Berwick,” she said on a promotional visit to the town. “The race is a fabulous opportunity to show the very best of what we have to offer.
“I hope it will encourage more people to get into cycling and adopt a more active lifestyle. We have lots of great clubs across the county and lots of excellent cycling routes.”
Jim Blythe of Berwick Wheelers added: “There are a lot more cyclists around this area these days which is excellent for the local economy. We need to try and build on the momentum that the Tour of Britain creates to improve the infrastructure and encourage more people to take up the sport.”
Participating teams are expected to be announced soon, although Dutch sensation Mathieu van der Poel has already been confirmed.
Peter Hodges, spokesman for race organisers SweetSpot, said: “The Tour will be brilliant for promoting Northumberland. Berwick will be a fantastic place to start the stage and we’re looking forward to seeing some amazing shots from the helicopter as the riders cross the famous Old Bridge.
“The stage has so many highlights, from the castles of Bamburgh, Alnwick and Warkworth and distant shots to Holy Island on to Newcastle’s Quayside and a brilliant city centre finish. It will be really nice to show such a wide range of history and heritage.
“Cycling is growing more and more, helped in this country by the successes of Geraint Thomas, Chris Froome and Mark Cavendish, and the Tour of Britain will provide a great opportunity to see world class riders in action.”