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Spectators guide to the Tour of Britain - Barnstaple

[Monday 10 September 2012]

Tour of Britain

Spectators who want to see Bradley Wiggins, Mark Cavendish and the other world-class cyclists in this year’s Devon stage of The Tour of Britain on Saturday 15 September have 106 miles of the county’s roads to choose from.

Tour de France winner and Olympic Time Trial Champion Bradley Wiggins and reigning World Road Race Champion Mark Cavendish are expected to attract bumper crowds on the Devon stage from Barnstaple to Dartmouth, through Dartmoor National Park – and it’s anticipated the turnout will exceed the 125,000 who lined last year’s route in the county.

The Devon stage will start in Barnstaple, which will be holding a Big Cycling Weekend. This will start with criterium cycle races around the town centre the night before from 7pm to 10pm.

On the day of the race, Royal Marines from RMB Chivenor will take on a Static Bike Challenge in The Square in aid of the Mayor’s Charity, the Devon Air Ambulance. They will start at 8am and will complete the same distance as the professional cyclists racing by 11.30am. Courtesy of The Bike Shed, the two teams of marines will be racing on static trainers, which will be programmed to simulate the Stage 7 route, including all the major climbs.

At 8.30am, there will be the first of two performances in The Square from Jones and Barnard, whose unique style of comedy, antics and unicycling will bring a smile to everyone’s face. Family and friends will also be able to challenge each other on the velodrome bikes – with all contributions going to the Mayor’s charity.

Riders will begin to sign on at the Podium at 9am, with 30 Bikeability students being chosen to take part in the Children’s Ride Out at 10am. They will be accompanied by six Royal Marines and town councillor Ricky Knight, who will be riding a Victorian three wheeler.

After the start of the race at Long Bridge at 10.15am, Jones and Barnard will give their second performance of the day as the children from the ride out return to The Square. These children and others will also be able to take part in their own special cycle race – the Barnstaple Slow Race - which start from 10.45am.

Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Highways and Transportation, says: "There has never been a more exciting time in British cycling than right now. With the success of our cyclists at the London Olympics, and Bradley Wiggins winning an Olympic Gold medal as well as becoming the first British rider to win the Tour de France. This is a great opportunity to see him and World Champion Mark Cavendish in action. There is always an electric atmosphere at the start and finish venues, but it’s great for communities along the rest of the Stage to get together to see the riders race through their local town or village. The Tour is Britain’s biggest cycle race, but it’s also a community event because it is such an incredible spectacle. After such a memorable summer of cycling, this year’s Tour is sure to be a fantastic occasion."

North Devon Council Leader Brian Greenslade, says: "A lot of preparation has gone into Barnstaple's Big Cycling Weekend. With criterium races on the Friday, and various activities and displays on the Saturday, we hope everyone will enjoy the programme of events to mark the start of the Devon Stage of the Tour of Britain. As well as building on a great atmosphere, the weekend will also be a welcome boost to the local economy, and who knows, it may even inspire some young cycling champions of the future!"

Mayor of Barnstaple, Councillor Lesley Brown, says: "Barnstaple is really looking forward to welcoming The Tour of Britain competitors and their teams to the town. The excitement is building by the day and we hope we have provided something for everyone to enjoy, whether they want to cheer on the peloton, take the velodrome challenge or be entertained by the antics of Jones and Barnard. My thanks to The Bike Shed, Robert Brain, RMB Chivenor Marines and St Johns Garden Centre for all their help and support. I shall be starting the Children’s Ride Out at 10am, then moving swiftly out of the way before I get mown down by Messrs Wiggins and Cavendish and the Tour of Britain riders!"

Transport and road closures

Park and ride services are available off South Street in Barnstaple.

There will be fixed road closures in place in the start and finish locations and rolling road closures along the route of the race enforced by 62 police and civilian motorcycles. The rolling road closures will only be in effect for a limited period to allow the race and race vehicles to travel through towns and villages safely and to allow residents, businesses and visitors ample opportunity to see the event safely.

In Barnstaple, The Square, The Strand and Longbridge will be closed from 5am to 1pm. Castle Street, Cross Street, and the inbound road on Taw Vale will be closed from 7am to 1pm.

Lower Boutport Street will also be closed from 7am to 1pm, with Queen Street to High Street closed at 10am when the usual High Street closure starts, and High Street to The Square closed from around 9am. All closures beyond Longbridge (for example, Station Road onwards) will be covered by the rolling road closure.

Anyone inspired by the professional cyclists who is looking for a day out before or after watching the race, could always go for a leisurely cycle along one of the cycle trails near this year’s Stage route. Choose from the Tarka Trail, which stretches from Braunton to Meeth, The Granite Way between Okehampton and Lydford, and Drake’s Trail from Plymouth to Tavistock, which will only have been fully opened just over a week before The Tour arrives in Devon.

The Tour of Britain 2012 got underway in Ipswich on Sunday (9 September), with the final stage in Guildford on Sunday 16 September.

The Devon Stage of Britain’s biggest free-to-watch sporting event will race through Instow, Bideford, Landcross, Great Torrington, Hatherleigh and Folly Gate. It includes three Skoda King of the Mountains climbs at South Hill, near Little Torrington, as well as Merrivale and Coffin Stone within Dartmoor National Park. There will also be intermediate Yodel Sprints at Great Torrington, Slapton Ley and Kingsbridge.

For further information visit the South West Tour of Britain website (external link) or follow @SWTourofBritain for all the action on Twitter (external link).

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