Pendle and the Ribble Valley are to get major TV exposure and a massive tourism boost as the world’s top cyclists race through the area in September.
The boroughs will play host to a major part of Stage Two of the Tour of Britain as it winds it way from Clitheroe to Colne.
As well as drawing in thousands of extra visitors to the area, the event will be broadcast for three hours a day on ITV 4.
Stage Two of the tour on September 7th will see riders cover a 100-mile route that includes the Nick O’Pendle climb, Longridge, Dunsop Bridge, Slaidburn in the Forest of Bowland, and Barnoldswick, before the finish in the centre of Colne.
Ribble Valley Council leader Stuart Hirst said: “The Ribble Valley is one of the UK’s premier visitor destinations, with a national reputation for fine food and drink, outstanding independent shops and stunning countryside.
“The Tour of Britain attracts a huge following, as well as an international television audience, so is the ideal showcase for Ribble Valley’s many attractions.”
Coun. Paul White, who has responsibility for Enterprise, Growth and Promotion in Pendle, said: “We’re really excited to host a stage of this year’s Friends Life Tour of Britain. Stage Two is the shortest but toughest of the stages so it will be a great one to watch.
“The Tour is the country’s largest free-to-spectate sporting event, attracting thousands of spectators to each stage. According to an independent report commissioned by the Tour of Britain, last year each host area saw an injection of at least £2m into their economy.
“Pendle really is a hidden gem and this gives us an amazing opportunity to show the world what we have to offer! We’re really excited and hope that everyone will get behind it and help to make it a fantastic event.”
Commenting on the announcement, Mick Bennett, Race Director of Friends Life Tour of Britain organisers SweetSpot said; “We are pleased to be bringing the race to the Ribble Valley and Pendle for the first time and look forward to showcasing the area via the race and associated live television coverage. We have a great, and testing route, which will be one popular with fans who should be able to catch the action in more than one location.”
Further details of the route, including Ordnance Survey stage maps, will be announced in the Summer, along with details of the 20 competing teams.
Ian Wilkinson, from Barnoldswick and rides for Team Raleigh - GAC, is looking forward to taking part in a home stage. He said: “The Ribble Valley and Pendle are fantastic places to cycle. The landscape is challenging and very dramatic. I’m sure all of this year’s competitors will enjoy Stage Two.”
It will be the first visit of the Friends Life Tour of Britain to the two boroughs since 2010, when the opening stage of the race passed through on its way from Rochdale to Blackpool, and the first time ever that either Clitheroe or Colne have been a host venue.
World famous cyclists like Mark Cavendish and Bradley Wiggins have graced the Tour in the past.
For full details about the race, go to www.tourofbritain.co.uk.