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Monday, 01 September 2014

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We'll get over Tour of Britain snub, say Cumbrian tourism chiefs

A tourism boss says that Cumbria is still firmly in the “international cycling saddle” despite it missing out on this year’s Tour of Britain.

Tour of Britain photo
Mark Cavendish

The event raced through Cumbria in both 2013 and 2012, with last year’s tough Honister Pass stage being hailed as especially successful.

Businesses throughout the county cashed in on a multi-million pound windfall, and an ITV4 highlights package attracted 375,000 viewers.

But this year the event will head through Liverpool, Knowsley, Worcester, Bristol, Exeter, Hemel Hempstead and London.

Cumbria Tourism managing director Ian Stephens said that a Tour Series event to be held in Barrow would compensate for the loss.

Mr Stephens said: “The county may not be hosting the Tour of Britain this year, but Cumbria is still firmly on the international cycling map, with Barrow set to play host to some of the world’s best professional cyclists.

“Barrow will host stage two of the Pearl Izumi Tour Series, one of only 10 host venues in the country and the only venue in the entire north west.

“The Tour Series is very different and is a great spectacle with teams battling out in an adrenaline-filled team race around the streets, rather than the endurance test a full stage of the tour represents.

“So as you can see, Cumbria is still firmly in the international cycling saddle.”

Last month Cumbria County Council revealed a 51 per cent upsurge in the number of cyclists on some of Carlisle’s key routes.

There was a rise in day-to-day cycling journeys during a two-week period compared with the same period in 2012. This built on a 10.6 per cent increase in 2012 compared to 2011.

Colin Glover, leader of Carlisle City Council, acknowledged losing out on the tour was a blow, but said he was pleased with the role the city had played in previous years.

Mr Glover said: “Although we’re disappointed that Carlisle won’t be part of this year’s Tour of Britain, we hope to welcome them back in the future.

“We know they were delighted with the way Carlisle delivered our part in the success of the Cumbria stage over the past two years and we understand the need for other parts of the UK to be able to be part of this great event.

“I’m sure it will go from strength to strength and we wish them well for this year’s event.”

The Pearl Izumi Tour Series will be held in Barrow on Thursday, May 15.

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