Cycle stars Wiggins and Cavendish race through Carlisle
Last updated at 12:16, Thursday, 13 September 2012
Cheering crowds lined the streets today to catch a glimpse of their sporting heroes and welcome the UK’s biggest professional bicycle race into Cumbria.
The Tour of Britain returned to the city for stage four of the race, with many Cumbrians still buzzing from an amazing summer for British sport.
In Carlisle city centre a huge cheer erupted from the crowd as Bradley Wiggins stepped out of the tour bus, signing autographs for delighted fans.
There was a chorus of cheers and shouts of “Wiggo” and “Cavendish” as they mingled with the crowds signing autographs.
Bradley Wiggins said: “I think it has been fantastic and we are all overwhelmed by the reception here and across the country.
“Even with our typical English weather people have still come out, which is fantastic”.
Speaking on the start line Mark Cavendish said: “The reception has been really amazing and it has been really great to see so many people out in weather like this.
“Thanks to everyone who came out.”
Earlier crowds had gathered gathered five deep on St Mary’s Gate, off Castle Street, craning to catch a glimpse of the riders as they emerged from the Sky bus with its blacked out windows.
There were mock boos from the crowd when the bus door opened only to close again; as the heavens opened on the crowd an electronic awning opened out from the bus to protect the bikes from the downpour.
Speaking ahead of an awards ceremony to recognise the cycling achievements of local school children the Mayor of Carlisle David Wilson said: “We are delighted to welcome back the event after a seven year absence. Carlisle will once again be showcased to a global audience and we are thrilled to be part of such an exciting event.
“The Carlisle stage of the Tour of Britain follows a busy summer of sports, arts and cultural events and activities in Carlisle which has included the Torch Relay, Diamond Jubilee celebrations and Carlisle Music City events.”
He added: “We are thrilled that some of the worlds best cyclists will be taking part in today’s events, and I hope they inspire others to get involved in cycling and other sports. I am also really pleased that some of our local schools are playing a key role in today’s event by starting off the Carlisle stage of the race.”
School children were then called up to receive their certificates to cheers and applause.
David Rawle, club coach of the Border City Wheelers said: “It’s great to asked to head the field off, it’s absolutely fantastic.”
He added: “The upsurge in interest in junior cycling since Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish have been in the Tour de France and the Olympics has been fantastic. Our numbers have rocketed.”
Helen Aitchinson, a volunteer with the William Howard Bike Club was riding at the front with Hugh Green, 15, of Brampton and Natasha Moore, 16.
She said: “We are taking in the atmosphere and looking forward to riding in front of the tour. If we get meet any of the riders that would be awesome”.
Paul Reid, secretary of the Northern Counties Veteran and Classic Cycle Club, had on display some real historic gems including a penny farthing and a boneshaker.
He said: “I would love to see the riders have a go on one of these. I don’t think Bradley Wiggins would fit on the penny farthing but Mark Cavendish might.
“Some of the bikes here could still be used competitively, particularly for a natural cyclist like Wiggins.
“He would certainly be faster than me!”
The build-up to the race started with a celebration of cycling from 9 am onwards including an awards ceremony near to the Old Town Hall for the 17 schools taking part in the event. Ellie Dickinson, of
Trinity School,was amomg those nominated for their contribution to cycling.
Dr Joe Hendry, leader of Carlisle City Council, was thrilled that the race was here and that pupils from 16 schools were getting free cycle coaching as part of the Tour of Britain legacy.
He said: “The most important thing is the involvement of schools and young people. To have Olympians here is tremendous. The fact that the cycle authorities are giving mentoring to those children is a great opportunity. Those who have come to see [the start of the leg] will never forget it for the rest of their lives.”
He added: “Every bed and breakfast in Carlisle was packed last night. It’s an opportunity to showcase what a special city we have. It will do us nothing but good.
“We’ve demonstrated to the world that we can host big events.”
“We’d be delighted to have more of them
During The Tour’s visit to Carlisle, some temporary disruption to normal access and traffic flows is expected.
Minutes after leaving the city centre the cyclists hit Caldewgate where police motor cyclists had stopped traffic from going beyond the roundabouts.
Crowds gathered at McVitie’s roundabout and Scotby Cycles manager Lee Wedgewood was excited at the thought of the cyclists passing by his shop. “I was chuffed when I found out,” said Lee.
Trisha Corbishley is a keen cycling fan. Her son Richard is Border City Wheelers Club champion. “Cycling has become more popular this summer with the Olympcis and the Tour de France,” she said.
Rosalyn Firth used be a keen cyclist in her youth. “I’ve really enjoyed watching it this summer,” she said. “Bradley Wiggins is my favourite.”
Ian Langley said: “I’ve just been in town and it’s buzzing. I think it is a really good thing for city.”
Dozens of schoolchildren gathered at the park peering through the railings up towards Castle Way to watch the arrival of the cyclists.
Some of the children from nearby Caldew Lea School held up home made posters with the word GO. Chants of Bradley Wiggins! filled the air. A convoy of motorcyclists headed round the roundabout followed closely by the Peloton with cheers of “Bradley Bradley” reached fear pitch.
The multi coloured cyclists glided around the roundabouts, back up Castle Way and as quickly as they had come, they were gone.
“The children were very exciting about the tour,” said Caldewlea teacher Catriona Johnston. “Bradley Wiggins is their favourite. They like the fact he is a winner and they like his sideburns, of course.”
In Penrith spectators thronged the route through the town.
Arragon’s cycle shop in Brunswick Road even laid on a tea party with scones, cheese and wine for the crowds.
Co-owner Phil Graham said: “It’s brilliant. I just wish it came every year. How often do you get an elite-level race starting in Carlisle and coming through Penrith?
“There are serious teams trying to win this event.”
The spectators included Helen Fears, 31, of Castletown, Penrith, who brought her children Georgie, six months, and Jamie, three, to watch.
She said: “I never got to take my son to the Olympics. It’s good for him to see someone we watched on tv and relate to that.
“We have been lucky this year in Penrith, we had the Olympic torch relay and now this.”
First published at 11:41, Wednesday, 12 September 2012
Published by http://www.newsandstar.co.uk
Have your say
Nice to see a rare but pleasing big event in carlisle,maybe the council will recognise the demand for big attractions and look at the funding given to Arts and sporting events locally.
Great to see all the riders in our area although they were very lucky they didn't have to use our cycle paths. If they had it would have taken up most of their time fixing punctures. Eastern Way and London Rd cycle paths are both poorly maintained and showered with glass. As for stories about cutting down on street lighting, the lights on Dalston Road in front of the cemetary don't even work. This leaves any cyclists using the road in near darkness with cars in a 40 MPH zone. An accident waiting to happen. The news and Star ran a story with a cyclist called Brian Porter in 2008 saying how far this country is behind as regards looking after cyclist. I wonder how far behind we are now. Come on Carlisle Council sort it out.
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