THE UK’s most prestigious cycle race is heading to Warrington this September – subject to the latest government advice on the Coronavirus pandemic which has resulted in the mass cancellation of various sporting events.
All being well Warrington will host the Tour of Britain for the first time ever in September, bringing a huge boost to the town’s elite sport credentials.
The visit of British Cycling’s premier road cycling event will showcase Warrington to a substantial worldwide television audience, as well as generating a likely economic benefit of £1m for the local area.
With previous competitors including Bradley Wiggins, Mark Cavendish and Julian Alaphilippe, The Tour of Britain gives cycling fans the opportunity to see the world’s best teams and riders competing on their doorstep, as well as inspiring the next generation of cyclists.
The race previously passed through the town during the second stage of the 2012 Tour en route from Nottingham to nearby Knowsley Safari Park.
Over 85% of roadside spectators at the 2019 race described the event as “very enjoyable”, with half of them saying the Tour of Britain inspired them to cycle more often.
Full details of the race’s visit to Warrington – including the date, stage number and route – will be announced at the national launch of the event in April. However, yeterday’s announcement follows on from reveals of the 2020 Tour’s Grand Départ in Cornwall, returns to Devon and Cumbria, and a first-ever stage in Aberdeenshire.
Warrington Borough Council Leader, Cllr Russ Bowden, said: “Becoming a host venue for the Tour of Britain is great news for Warrington. It’s a hugely prestigious, high profile event, which is watched by people from all over the world. To be selected for a stage is a real honour for our town and will further add to our rich sporting heritage.
“There’s no doubt that the event will bring huge benefits for Warrington – attracting additional visitors to our town, boosting our economy and giving local people the chance to experience world class sport in their community. The evidence shows that hosting the Tour of Britain also inspires local people to take up cycling themselves, which will support our own plans to build sustainable travel into Warrington’s future.”
He added that it would all be dependant on the latest government advice regarding the Coronavirus pandemic – but it was important to continue with the planning involved in hosting such a major event.
Mick Bennett, Tour of Britain race director, said: “Sixteen years after the first modern Tour of Britain, it’s really exciting to see new towns coming on board to host the race for the first time.
“Since we began working with Warrington Borough Council, we’ve been blown away by the enthusiasm shown by everybody working on the project at their end. Combined with the town’s geographical position in the heart of a hotbed of cyclists and cycling fans, we’re looking forward to seeing a bumper crowd joining us in September for what promises to be an amazing day.”
Julie Harrington, CEO of British Cycling, said: “It’s always incredibly exciting to see new towns and cities hosting the Tour of Britain for the first time, and we’re sure that that people of Warrington will give riders, teams and spectators from elsewhere a memorable welcome to this year’s edition.”
The Tour of Britain will be hosted by Warrington in a year when the council is making record investment in cycling infrastructure. Over 10km of new cycleway and footway projects are to be delivered across the borough in 2020/21, with more than £5m of schemes planned, including a new Burton to Omega cycle way, connecting the village to the rest of Warrington.