A stage of the 2015 Tour of Britain cycling race is set to start in the Ribble Valley and finish in Pendle.
Ribble Valley Council and Pendle Council are in advanced negotiations with race organisers SweetSpot Group for Clitheroe to host the start of stage two on Monday, September 7th, with a finish lined up for Colne.
Although details of the route are not finalised yet, it is expected to take in Pendle Hill, the Pendleside villages and West Craven before a finish in Colne after a testing time on some of the Ribble Valley roads, with Waddington Fell likely to feature.
Ribble Valley Council has agreed in principal to set aside £90,000 and Pendle Council is due to ring fence £100,000 of a growth fund at its Executive meeting next week.
The plan is for the remaining stage costs to be topped up by sponsorship.
Pendle and the Ribble Valley have a rich history of hosting cycling events with the annual Colne Grand Prix and both the Tour of Britain and the British National Road Race Championships in the boroughs in recent years.
This is on top of activities for amateur participation, with Sir Bradley Wiggins’s “Ride with Brad” sportive being one of many.
Steven Burke’s Cycling Hub in Nelson already supports budding talent and the proposed Hope Technology velodrome in Barnoldswick complete with Olympic-length track could be constructed in the future.
Leader of Pendle Council, Coun. Joe Cooney, said: “One of the things the Tour of Britain organisers were keen on was quite a challenging course.
“Pendle is a cycling destination and this is another opportunity to show what an amazing place it is to come and visit.
“It’s another chance to be on the national stage and we will see some of the best riders in the world going through streets we know well which doesn’t happen very often. I think it will be an excellent stage.
“I know some people will think it is expensive but we are prepared to make this investment because we think it is worth it.
“But we want to maximise every little bit of hosting the event and make sure there is plenty to do for everybody to feel involved.”
And Stuart Hirst, Leader of Ribble Valley Council, was equally enthused: “This is an opportunity to showcase the wonderful Ribble Valley.
“Last year when North Yorkshire hosted the Tour de France, the coverage was stunning and I’m sure the race benefited the economy tremendously and the number of people spectating exceeded all expectations.
“The race is likely to attract a really high calibre of competitors on testing terrain and the beautiful and historical features of the valley.
“And if the route goes through Dunsop Bridge, it will take the cyclists through the centre of the Kingdom.”