Cycling boost after Tour of Britain's "thrilling" Devon stage, including Tavistock
By PGStrange | Wednesday, September 19, 2012, 13:35
THERE ARE hopes for a boost in cycling following the "thrilling" Devon stage of the Tour of Britain 2012 – which included the riders racing through Tavistock. And it's believed that record crowds attending the race may have added "millions of pounds" to the county's economy…
The Tour Of Britain passing through Tavistock on Saturday. Record crowds along the route may have added millions of pounds to Devon's economy
Thousands of people lined the Devon stage on Saturday 15 September in what was described as the most thrilling leg of the seven-day competition. The cyclists started at Barnstaple, came through Okehampton and down the A386, swept through Tavistock around lunchtime before going across Dartmoor, cutting back via South Hams and finishing in Dartmouth.
The Mayor of West Devon is hoping that hundreds of people will have been inspired by the race to get on the bikes and start using two-wheeled power. Meanwhile other Councillors are equally enthusiastic about what the race has meant to Devon.
Plymouth rider Jonathan Tiernan-Locke, who trains on Dartmoor, became the first British rider to win the Tour of Britain in 19 years.
"It's never been a better time to get on your bike!" said the Mayor of West Devon, Cllr Robin Musgrave, after the race. "The Tour of Britain has been such a great showcase for cycling and West Devon. Our borough really is the perfect place to enjoy this fantastic sport. With a local man winning the race, I really hope more people will be inspired to give the sport a go."
Cllr Terry Pearce, Ward Member for Mary Tavy, watched the race at Princetown. He said:"It was fantastic to see the crowds packed along the roadside, all the way up the hill to Princetown. Dartmoor looked glorious in the sunshine. I am sure the event will be a big boost for both tourism and cycling in the local area, given the tremendous turnout by people of all age groups."
"More than £3 million"
Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Highways and Transportation, said: "The Tour of Britain has been growing year on year, and this year's Devon stage was just phenomenal. The crowd, the weather and the scenery have all been incredible. It was great to see so many people along the route, probably the biggest crowds we have ever had. Local businesses must have benefited from that and I would have thought that it has brought in more than £3 million generated by last year's stage.
"A live worldwide TV audience has also seen what makes Devon so special, it has really shown the county at it's best as the premier destination for cycling."
The Tour of Britain was staged in Devon just over a week after the Drake's Trail cycling and walking route was officially opened. The 21-mile route links Tavistock with Plymouth, offering a "safe and picturesque trail" for cyclists of all abilities, with "highlights" such as Gem Bridge and Grenofen Tunnel.
"With the official launch of Drake's Trail, West Devon really can be proud of what it offers to cyclists," said Cllr Musgrave. "We have something for everyone; the Granite Way between Lydford and Okehampton, Dartmoor for the would-be 'Kings of the Mountain', even all action mountain-biking in the Tamar Valley!"
The Drake's Trail is part of the National Cycle Network (NCN) Route 27, the "Devon Coast to Coast". There are cycle hire facilities at Tavistock, Princetown, Sourton and Yelverton.
More pictures: Tour of Britain races through Tavistock