WARWICKSHIRE was the winner when it welcomed Britain’s premier cycle race.
That was the verdict of county council leader Izzi Seccombe after Warwickshire hosted the fourth stage of the Ovo Energy Tour of Britain, which included among the field of riders this year’s Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas, and four-time winner of the famous yellow jersey Chris Froome.
Coun Seccombe said: “It was a fantastic day for the whole county. When we learned that we’d be hosting the Tour of Britain for the very first time, we could not wait for the day to come, and I think it exceeded all our expectations.
“We were treated to a magnificent day of action and excitement thanks to all the competitors and spectators. Having them here was a great way to showcase everything that Warwickshire has to offer.
“We are also getting early evaluation back from June’s Ovo Energy Women’s Tour. Early indications show that a huge amount of people turned out on the streets with nearly two thirds of all spectators coming from outside the county.
“The event was a huge benefit to businesses and let’s hope the same can be said for the Tour of Britain.”
The 183.5 kilometre race route on Wednesday September 5 saw the riders set off from Nuneaton before pedalling through the north Warwickshire countryside towards Meriden, before they headed south, passing Kenilworth and Warwick castles, en route to the outskirts of Stratford.
The riders then faced three climbs – an ascent of more than 1,700 metres – at Ilmington, followed by others at Edge Hill and Burton Dassett Country Park.
The race continued through Moreton Morrell, Wellesbourne, Kineton, Tysoe, Shipston, Fenny Compton, Southam and Princethorpe, before reaching the finish line in Leamington outside the Royal Spa Centre theatre.
The stage victory was claimed by German Andre Greipel, – his second of the tour – closely followed by New Zealander Patrick Bevin who leads the race at the half way stage, ahead of the finish in London on Sunday.
Thousands of spectators lined the streets and roadsides of Warwickshire to cheer on the riders.
There was a party atmosphere at the finish line in Leamington where Warwick District Council also organised a cycling celebration to greet the tour, which included big screens to follow the action live, and activities for youngsters.