‘Big boost’ as Ottery St Mary gears up for Tour of Britain

Bradley Wiggins leads the field away at the start of last year's Devon stage of the Tour of Britain

Bradley Wiggins leads the field away at the start of last year's Devon stage of the Tour of Britain in Sidmouth.. Picture by Alex Walton. - Credit: Archant

Race fever is hitting community as World class riders head to town

Olympic champion Sir Bradley Wiggins and silver medallist Mark Cavendish are expected to give Ottery a ‘big boost’ as they showcase the town to a worldwide audience.

Race fever is hitting the community as it gears up to welcome the Tour of Britain next Friday, September 9, for the first time ever - and a whole host of celebratory activities have been planned to mark the occasion.

Thousands of people are expected to line the streets to welcome the world’s top cyclists as they ride from Sidmouth, through Ottery, to Honiton.

Town councillor and one of the main organisers of festivities, Josefina Gori, said: “We are convinced that when the tour is over, more cyclists will seek out Ottery as a destination.

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“Cycling clubs and spectators are already coming from far and wide. One of the big things the tour does is put the town in the spotlight.”

Chamber of commerce vice-chairman Kathie Carr said: “The tour will be a great bonus for the town. We are expecting it to boost business and we are ready for it – the bunting is out, window displays are looking brilliant. We are selling our town and the TV coverage will really highlight Ottery. We want everyone to have a wonderful day.”

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A picnic at the Land of Canaan will kick off a packed programme of events on Sunday (September 4), from 2pm to 4pm. People are asked to bring their own food and drink for an afternoon of fun, entertainment and prizes.

Punters can place their bets in a Lantern Rouge competition with prizes for predicting who will be the last rider to reach the summit of Chineway Hill – the first King of the Mountain climb of the 2016 tour.

As race day dawns, spectators can fuel up with an Ottery Big Breakfast with most town centre eateries offering tour-themed options, to include a ‘Geraint Thomas for a tenner’, a £7 ‘Wiggins Whopper’ or an ‘Owain Dahl’ Indian brekkie from £3.50 - £7.

Riders who are raring to give it a go themselves can seize the unique opportunity to do the King of the Mountain climb up Chineway Hill from 9am to 11am before the tour arrives on September 9.

Members of Ottery’s youth club have been busy painting bikes red, white and blue to go on display and organisers hope spectators will turn out in themed costumes with flags to cheer riders on.

Mayor Glyn Dobson said: “Thank-you to all of the people on the committee who have worked extremely hard to make it the success it’s going to be.

“We are expecting a lot of people and let’s hope they will buy a lot of breakfasts. It is excellent for the town and it’s just a matter of getting people here now.”

For more information and to buy tickets for the Lantern Rouge competition, contact Phyllis Baxter at Seasons Tea Rooms on 01404 813964 or 07543 579535.

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