- Credit: Archant
The Tour of Britain 2014 returns to the county this month and, once again, Dartmoor National Park will provide an iconic backdrop from where to watch it
The Friends Life Tour of Britain is Britain’s biggest cycle race. Last year it was contested by 114 riders and was won by Sir Bradley Wiggins riding for the Sky Procycling Team.
Last year the Devon stage ran between Sidmouth and Dartmoor with a stunning hill climb ending – the first ever summit finish for the modern version of the race at Haytor. The race attracted a total net spend in the county of more than £5million. It was the UK’s biggest free to attend sporting event with over 1.5 million spectators nationally and it is estimated that 250,000 people came out to support the riders on the Devon stage. The Tour was broadcast worldwide to a potential 287.7 million homes, putting Devon and Dartmoor well and truly on the global map.
The Tour returns to Dartmoor National Park again on 11 September. The Devon Stage, hosted by Devon County Council, will be Stage Five of The Tour 2014 and will cover around 106 miles (171 km) of the county. It will take in a number of communities en route from Exmouth to Exeter, including Budleigh Salterton, Woodbury, Topsham, Exminster, Starcross, Chudleigh, Bovey Tracey, Haytor, Widecombe in the Moor, Princetown, Tavistock, Okehampton, Copplestone, and Crediton.
Last year riders tackled the gruelling hill climb finish at Haytor and again the iconic Dartmoor tor features in this year’s race as one of the Skoda King of the Mountains (KoM) hill climbs.
The Tour is not just about who gets to the finish line. There are a number of competitions going on at once – including the notorious KoM. On each stage there are several KoM climbs and the best climber gets to wear the polka-dot jersey. The riders should enter Bovey Tracey at around 12.31pm and a mere three minutes later be starting the Haytor KoM - a fantastic spot to see the world’s elite cyclists.
If you are planning to watch the race on Dartmoor, the advice is plan ahead and get there early. It is recommended that you arrive at least an hour before the riders are due to come through as this will allow for the fact that they may be going faster than the estimated times!
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Check the weather forecast beforehand and wear appropriate clothing for the day. Rolling road closures will be in place as the race progresses through the National Park. Roads are closed to ALL traffic approximately 30 minutes in advance of the arrival of the race. n
For more information on the Devon Stage visit southwesttourofbritain.co.uk, tourofbritain.co.uk or Follow on Twitter @SWTourofBritain. For more information on Dartmoor National Park
dartmoor.gov.uk/cycling or follow on Twitter @dartmoornpa