Devon leaders hail Tour of Britain stage a huge success

Thursday 9th September 2021 4:21 am
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The Tour of Britain had a warm reception in Moretonhampstead. Picture: Steve Pope

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DEVON leaders have hailed this year’s Tour of Britain stage a great success.

Monday’s event saw more than 100 riders race from Sherford near Plymouth to a packed Queen Street in Exeter, via a circuitous route including Dartmouth and Dartmmor.

American Robin Carpenter was first across the finish line to win the stage, the second of the tour after it kicked off in Cornwall the day before.

The 115-mile course looped around the South Hams and Dartmoor, passing communities including Totnes, Dartmouth, Kingsbridge, Ivybridge, Yelverton, Tavistock, Princetown and Moretonhampstead on the way.

The race was broadcast live on ITV4 and on other channels around the world, and pictures showed crowds of spectators lining the route in glorious sunshine, including Moretonhampstead.

Leader of Devon County Council John Hart said: ;We could not have had a better day and I would say, because I come from the South Hams, we couldn’t have had a better tour route either.

‘The way that people turned out, the way the sun shone, the way Devon was shown nationally as well as locally and internationally from camera shots, and the talk of the commentators of the scenery, set Devon up in a way that frankly we could not buy that kind of good publicity.

‘Those towns that turned out, turned out in number, and the design of the route – where you had quite a number of uphill climbs in that heat – frankly, I took my hat off to the riders themselves.’

Holding this year’s stage cost the county council just under £220,000, which will be split over two financial years. Exeter also contributed a sum, thought to be around £70,000.

It is estimated this year’s event could generate up to £5 million for the local economy. More than £41 million is estimated to have been earned in Devon by the Tour of Britain’s 13 visits since 2007.

Councillor Stuart Hughes (Conservative, Sidmouth), cabinet member responsible for cycling, said: ‘Thousands of people turned out to watch a world-class sporting event on our doorsteps, which was fantastic, and they were treated to some excellent racing from some of the sport’s top cyclists.

‘Hopefully it provided a boost to some of our local businesses as well and helps them as we aim for a strong economic recovery in the county.

‘And we were blessed with stunning weather so a worldwide audience watching on TV got to see some of Devon’s most scenic locations looking their best.’

Councillor Duncan Wood (Labour, Pinhoe), Exeter’s lead for leisure & physical activity, added: ‘It is fantastic that the second stage of the Tour of Britain finished in Exeter. It was a brilliant atmosphere at the finish line and it was great to see so many people enjoying the day.’

Mick Bennett, Race Director of the AJ Bell Tour of Britain, said the stage was ‘Beyond all expectations and it’s credit to everybody involved. I can’t sing everyone’s praises enough.

‘With almost 3,500 metres of climbing this was definitely more difficult than previous Devon Stages.

‘We want the Tour to show that Britain’s open again. We were fortunate with the weather, which was glorious, but that’s why people come to Devon.’

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