The UK’s biggest and most prestigious cycle race has been confirmed as returning to Northumberland this September.
The county is to host stage two of the the OVO Energy Tour of Britain on 4th September, the longest stage in 2017 at approx 211km – which will include a start in Kielder Water and Forest Park and a loop finish in Blyth.
In 2015 Stage Four of the OVO Energy Tour of Britain finished in Blyth, with Colombian sprinter Fernando Gaviria taking the stage win in the town centre, ahead of then teammate Mark Cavendish.
While the specific route details will be announced later in the summer it will pass through the Northumberland National Park and many rural and urban communities along the way, including Rothbury, Alnwick, Bamburgh and Morpeth.
The Tour is set to be broadcast in over 120 countries, including live coverage on ITV4, which will further raise the profile of the county to an international audience.
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.
In 2015, The Tour of Britain, swept through the county creating a wave of excitement as some of the world’s top cyclists, including UK favourite Sir Bradley Wiggins, cycled through dozens of our communities.
Residents and businesses dressed the route in the distinctive red and gold colours of the Northumberland flag and thousands of spectators lined the route to cheer on the cyclists and give them a fantastic welcome, and will be encouraged to do so again.
This year the eight-stage race runs from Sunday 3rd to Sunday 10th of September.
Northumberland County Council Chief Executive Steven Mason said:“This is fantastic news for the county.
“The race will showcase our county, heritage and iconic landmarks to an international audience and bring major investment into Northumberland, while providing a fantastic opportunity for us all to enjoy a wonderful sporting spectacle.
“We know from events like last year’s North Sea Tall Ships Regatta what an economic boost these high profile visits can bring and we’re confident the Tour will be no exception.”
Heidi Mottram, Chief Executive of Northumbrian Water Group, said: “The Tour of Britain coming to Northumberland is a fantastic coup for the region and what better location to start off the first English stretch of this prestigious event than at the beautiful site of Kielder.”
“We have some amazing sporting occasions that are native to Northumberland, such as the Active Northumberland Kielder Marathon Weekend, but having a major national event placing such a focus upon the north east will help to showcase some of the most beautiful parts of Britain to a huge audience. That can only be a hugely positive thing for local businesses, leisure and tourism.”
Joe Hughes, Clerk to Blyth Town Council, added: “It is exciting news for the town that a stage of the race will finish in Blyth.
“Blyth will look forward in anticipation to this great sporting event in September and the boost to the town that it will provide.”
For all the latest information on the tour in Northumberland go to www.nlandtob.com