Tour of Britain 2016 in Ottery St Mary
- Credit: Archant
Tour-iffic day! Town buzzing with excitement as riders race through streets
Spectators and cycling fans of all ages lined the streets of Ottery St Mary to cheer on the Tour of Britain this morning (Friday).
Rain failed to dampen spirits and the town was buzzing with excitement as the World’s top riders – including Olympic champion Sir Bradley Wiggins and silver medallist Mark Cavendish – rode through for stage six of Britain’s biggest cycle race.
It was the first time Ottery has been chosen to host the tour - which left Sidmouth’s Esplanade at 11.30am this morning – and the event has been billed ‘a great opportunity to put the town on the map’ and showcase its assets in front of a global TV audience.
Ottery Tourist Information Centre manager Phyllis Baxter said: “It has been so good for the town. It was just fabulous how the whole community came together.
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“Cyclists have been coming in and having the Ottery Big Breakfast and we have said we will see them next year for the King of the Mountain challenge. The town is buzzing and there is great excitement. Let’s hope they come again.”
Cafes and eateries were packed with people filling up on a special tour-themed breakfast and primary school pupils turned out in force to wave flags and cheer on the riders.
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Chineway Hill was a popular spot with spectators keen to get a glance of the riders making their way up the first King of the Mountain for stage six of the tour.
Resident Shirley Merrick came out to see the action. She said: “We were there watching and it was absolutely brilliant. It was exciting for the town and lovely to see lots of people out cheering them on.”
Resident Jill Rose agreed it was great to see Ottery on the map again.
She added: “As I always say, Ottery is the centre of the universe.”
Business owner Sal Gooding, of Sal’s Café in Mill Street, said: “It was really busy all morning which was really good. We had lots of people in for the special breakfasts. We watched the tour come through on our phones. It was a fantastic atmosphere and it’s nice to see events like this in Ottery.”
Members of Ottery youth club at The Station rolled up their sleeves ahead of the big day to paint bicycles in red, white and blue and a series of fun activities were planned within the community to celebrate the occasion.
Ottery Primary School, The Rotary Club of the Otter Valley, Ottery Town Council, Ottery Tourist Information Centre, residents, cycle clubs and police were out in force on the day.
Businesses across the town welcomed the race with an array of inventive tour-themed window displays.