Hundreds of flags will soon be flying over the streets and roads of Northumberland as the countdown continues to Britain’s biggest cycle race.
Spectators across the county will have the chance to see some of the world’s top riders during the Northumberland stage of the 2017 OVO Energy Tour of Britain on September 4 which starts in Kielder Water & Forest Park and finishes in Blyth.
To guide both riders and spectators, over 100 flags will line sections of the route, which passes through 28 communities and is more than 200km long.
As well as the flags there will be over 130 boards, 36 welcome banners and 12 national Tour of Britain banners installed.
County Council Highways staff are busy installing the flags on lamp-posts in the county, with all flags expected to be up any day.
Northumberland County Council has worked with start sponsors Northumbrian Water, finish sponsors Blyth Town Council and race organisers SweetSpot to bring the race to the county – and excitement is mounting with just over a fortnight to go.
All of the top five teams in the current UCI WorldTour rankings – Quick-Step Floors; Team Sky; BMC Racing; Movistar Team and Orica Scott – will be taking part in the race.
Northumberland County Councillor Richard Wearmouth, cabinet member for economic development, said: “With just days to go the excitement is really building and it’s great to see the infrastructure starting to appear along the race route..
“In 2015 the Tour of Britain gave a real boost to the local economy – to the tune of £2m – and we’re confident this year’s stage which is entirely in the county, will be great news for businesses in Northumberland.
“With 115,000 people lining the route last time, many from outside the area, as well as live coverage of the whole stage on ITV4 it really is a fantastic opportunity for our communities to showcase everything that is great about this county.”
David Hall, Head of Leisure, Strategy and Transformation at Northumbrian Water said: “We are counting down the days until the Tour of Britain comes to Northumberland and are busy readying Kielder Dam in preparation for the launch of Stage two.
“We are proud to have such a prestigious event here in our county and to play our part in making it happen. It’s sure to be a fantastic day for all involved and something that will live long in the memory of those who get to see and experience it.”
Councillor John Potts, Mayor of Blyth Town Council, said: “In 2015 when the cycle race came to Blyth the town was buzzing with excitement. Blyth Town Council is supporting the event again this year and hope the whole town gets involved in decorating the streets to show Blyth at its best.
“The public will have great opportunities to see the cycle racers as they speed through the town and the last kilometre from Broadway to Waterloo Road where the race will finish will be truly exciting.
“In addition, the velodrome, which will be situated at High Street car park, was very popular last time with children and adults alike.
“This international event generates a huge amount of publicity which can only be of benefit to all of us. Come to Blyth to see the race.”
Full Northumberland route details can be found at www.nlandtob.com