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Monday, 21 April 2014

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Hopes Tour of Britain will inspire Cumbria's young cyclists

It is hoped that the Tour of Britain cycle event – the UK’s equivalent of the Tour de France – will inspire a new generation of young cyclists in Carlisle.

Fifteen schools have already signed up to take part in the event on Wednesday, September 12, when it passes through the city on its way to Blackpool.

Shona McLean, a Go-Ride cycling coach from Carlisle, said: “We hope that children will be inspired by the Tour coming to Carlisle.

“It’s a great opportunity for them to see professional riders and if they are interested to join local cycling clubs.”

Pennine Way School in Harraby, Carlisle, won a school race before the Tour of Britain professional cyclists passed through Gretna in September 2009.

Their successes prompted a visit from British BMX Olympian Shanaze Reade. She surprised pupils when she walked into their assembly with her £3,000 bike.

Andrew Beattie, deputy head at Pennine Way School, said: “The children loved the visit from Shanaze and we are pleased to be involved this year.

“The kids receive coaching before the Tour from Shona and get to ride in front of the cyclists along Scotch Street.

“It is an amazing opportunity for them.”

The 156 kilometre leg – Stage Four of the tour – will start from outside the Old Town Hall at 11am and make its way down Scotch Street, along Castle Way, past McVitie’s, down the back of Devonshire Walk and do a loop around the back of the castle. It will re-enter Castle Way and go along to Hardwicke Circus, down Georgian Way along to Tait Street and onto London Road and the A6.

Shap Fell will be one of the King of the Mountains stretches and falls just a few metres short of the highest point on the tour.

The winner of each stage will wear the IG Markets Gold Jersey – the equivalent of the Yellow Jersey in the Tour de France.

Team riders will be confirmed as the summer progresses, but former Tour de France stage winner and two-time Giro d’Italia winner Ivan Basso has already been named as the team leader for the Liquisgas-Cannondale team.

Peter Hodges for the Tour of Britain said: “At this stage we can’t say if Bradley Wiggins or Mark Cavendish will definitely ride but we are confident that at least one of them will be here.”

Britain’s own Team Sky will be riding in the event along with riders from Garmin-Sharp.

The launch of the Carlisle stage of the Tour of Britain was held at Tullie House Museum in Carlisle.

Invited guests and business people watched and listened to a presentation about the economic benefits the event will bring to the city’s hotels, restaurants, shops and bars.

The Tour is being sponsored locally by Riverside, Stagecoach and Telford Skoda.

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