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Cumbria to host Tour of Britain stage

Cycling's biggest superstars are wheeling back into Cumbria – bringing with them a windfall of up to £4 million.

Tour of Britain photo
Bradley Wiggins, left and Mark Cavendish before the start of stage four in Carlisle city centre last year

The Tour of Britain, which last year brought Olympians Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish to the county, is returning for what will be its longest-ever and most gruelling stage.

Carlisle has been chosen to start a leg of the UK’s biggest free-to-watch sporting event for the second successive year, fuelling a potential financial, sporting and visitor boom.

But instead of racing straight out of the county as they have previously, elite world cyclists will compete in a stage based entirely in Cumbria on a 140-mile route taking in Wigton, Cockermouth, Maryport, Workington, Whitehaven and Keswick en-route to a finish in Kendal.

It will be the first time in the race’s 10-year history that it has passed through the Lake District, taking in its picturesque but punishing high passes.

Thousands of people are expected to line the route, which will showcase the area to a global television audience as interest in cycling continues to ride on an all-time high.

Economic experts from the alliance of authorities which brokered the tour deal already estimate that the event will be worth between £3m and £4m.

Last year’s stage from Carlisle, months after Wiggins’ Tour de France and London Olympic gold medal victories, brought with it a £2.3m boost, selling out hotels and attracting tens of thousands of day-trippers.

Details of the eight-day tour were unveiled in London tonight.

It will start at Peebles in the Scottish Borders and finish in central London. Cumbria will be its second stage, on Monday, September 16.

Race director Mick Bennett said: “We’ve got a fantastic line-up and have lots of teams applying to ride.”

Cumbria County, Carlisle City and South Lakeland councils have secured the event, along with the Lake District National Park Authority.

Tony Markley, the county councillor in-charge of economic development, said: “Holding a tour stage exclusively within England’s most beautiful county will put Cumbria on the map internationally and allow us to exploit the massive national interest in cycling.”

Have your say

A comment from a hypothetical FIFA World Cup or Olympics fan might be: "I am sure the Tour of Britain will be interesting to some people but its a bit like train spotting, only people interested in it will go to see it"
It's all relative isn't it?
The ToB will attract one number of people, the ISDT will attract, possibly, a smaller number of people. The ToB will cost one big number of pounds to support, the ISDT a considerably lesser figure.

Posted by Syd Wall on 25 March 2013 at 11:48

Albert. If its like train spotting because only people interested in seeing it will go then the same could be said about the Tour of Britain, or any other major event. The difference with the ISDT is that is started here in Carlisle 100 years ago, a major historical event linked to this city and for that alone we should make the most of it.

There again, some people just want to go and see men in tight lycra shorts. I'll leave that to you Albert. I'll go and see the classic motorbikes and a re-run of the original 1913 event.

Well said PaulM. It's a shame Carlisle has missed a golden opportunity with this.

Posted by K Graham on 25 March 2013 at 10:36

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