Colne’s reputation as a cycling hot spot will grow when the Aviva Tour of Britain comes to town this month. Yorkshire went bike-mad last year with the Tour de France Grand Depart and followed it up with this year’s Tour de Yorkshire.
Now it’s Lancashire and Colne’s turn when the Tour of Britain comes to Ribble Valley and Pendle on 7 September.
The day’s stage, described as one of the shortest but toughest stages of this year’s Tour of Britain, will culminate with a chase up the Calder Valley to the finish line in Colne centre, where the annual Colne Grand Prix is firmly established as a big cycling attraction.
Elite cyclists from all over the world will battle to take first place along the dramatic Stage Two route, called ‘Ribble Valley and Pendle, Clitheroe to Colne’ jointly hosted by Ribble Valley Borough Council and Pendle Council.
Each stage includes three YodelDirect Sprints and three Skoda King of the Mountains where riders crossing the line first will receive points for the jerseys.
Stage Two features climbs at the Nick o’ Pendle dropping down into Sabden, this is followed by a climb up Stoney Bank Road in Earby and finally in Barley heading towards Downham. The first of the sprints is in Salesbury on Ribchester Road, followed by Skipton Road in Barnoldswick and finally Chatburn Road, Clitheroe.
Councillor Mohammed Iqbal, leader of Pendle Council said: “I’m delighted with the route.
“The Sprints and King of the Mountains offer some of the most exciting places to watch the race, so get your place early!
“We’re now picking up the pace as the race gets closer to ensure that everything is in place for British Cycling’s premier road cycling event.
“This is a great opportunity to showcase our beautiful countryside as well as give a boost to our local businesses which we hope will reap the benefits from the extra footfall the race will attract.”
Ribble Valley Borough Council leader Stuart Hirst said: “The Tour of Britain attracts a huge following, as well as an international television audience, so is the ideal showcase for the borough’s many attractions.
“The King of the Mountain and sprint stages will take the Tour to every corner of Ribble Valley and Pendle, offering cycling enthusiasts in neighbouring boroughs the opportunity to witness one of the country’s biggest sporting events on their doorstep.
“We are really excited that the Tour of Britain is coming to Ribble Valley and hope everyone will get behind it, and help to make it a fantastic event.”
Councillor David Whipp, chairman of Pendle’s Tour of Britain working group, added: “A lot of work has gone into making sure that we have the best route possible and I’m pleased with the challenges it presents in Pendle.
“I’m hoping the sprint in Barnoldswick, next to the Rolls-Royce Leisure Centre on Skipton Road, will be a popular vantage point for spectators.”
A total of 120 riders, as part of 20 teams from all over the world, are expected to take part in this year’s Tour of Britain. Stage Two’s headline sponsor is Welcome Cottages.
Other stages are in Wales, Cumbria, Scotland, East Anglia, the Midlands and London.
For more information about the route, where to watch the race and road closures, go to www.tourofbritainstage2.co.uk