Traders in Devon gear up for Tour of Britain tourist boost
Large parts of Devon will grind to a halt today when the Tour of Britain comes to the county.
Olympic hero Sir Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish are among the riders who will arrive in the county.
And it could provide the county with a major economic boost.
Businesses and traders are hoping spectators will once again turn out in force to make it a day to remember – providing a final ‘end of summer’ boost to the local economy.
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Last year more than 220,000 spectators watched the Devon stage. A survey of more than 3,200 of them, carried out on behalf of Devon County Council, found that based on an average group size of 1.4 people, day visitors spent £62 and overnight visitors spent £105 per group.
Derek Philips, chairman of the Heart of Devon Tourism Partnership, said: “Not only is it a fantastic spectacle in itself, but because the Tour of Britain is here on a Friday, there’s the chance for people to really make the most of the whole Tour experience, enjoy the very best that the Heart of Devon has to offer and extend their stay for the full weekend.”
Broadcast on ITV4 and abroad, the Tour presents a brilliant showcasing opportunity for Devon.
Heart of Devon member Liz Connor is sales manager of The Buckerell Lodge Hotel
on Exeter’s Topsham Road, which is on the Tour route.
She said: “Everyone watching on television will get a glimpse of our beautiful county – the hills of East Devon, the historical heart of Exeter and Haytor providing a stunning backdrop to the first mountain stage finish in the history of the Tour.
“Those watching by the roadside will be spoilt for choice for things to do and places to stay.”
With Devon-based pro cycling Team UK Youth one of a record 19 teams taking part in the tour, Heart of Devon member and cycling enthusiast David Mezzetti, of The Real Food Store on Paris Street, Exeter, is hoping the county turns out to show its support.
He said: “Devon is renowned for producing some fantastic cyclists. The tour had its first British winner last year, Devon-born Jonathan Tiernan-Locke, and this year we’ve got the likes of Yanto Barker from Totnes riding for Nigel Mansell’s Team UK Youth. With growing national and international interest in the Tour, it’s a chance to put Devon in the ‘shop window’.”
Fellow Heart of Devon member Imogen Turner, of Yearlstone Vineyard in Bickleigh, close to the route, is enticing spectators with special offers at the vineyard’s Deli Shack Café.
She said: “It’s no surprise that the tour returns to beautiful Devon year after year.
“We want to show our support for our local riders and I for one shall be cheering them on as they speed past.”
Where to see the race
The Westcountry will host the 10th anniversary of the Tour of Britain tomorrow when the country’s biggest cycling event arrives in Devon.
But where are the best places to see likes of Olympic hero Sir Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish as they make their way along the tough 85-mile (137km) route?
Western Morning News reporter Adam Walmesley has ten recommendations:
1. Sidmouth sea front: There are few better places to watch than from the start line, on the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site.
2. Outside the Red Lion pub in Sidbury: The picturesque village is an ideal spot to stop for a pint as the race passes.
3. Honiton High Street: The East Devon town has been billed as one of the region’s most friendly market towns.
4. Halberton High Street: A road that was impassable less than a year ago when the famous Grand Western Canal burst its banks.
5. Tiverton Golf Club: Enjoy the cycling before playing a round of golf.
6. Pennsylvania Road/Union Road crossing, Exeter: Forget the 20mph speed limit on this straight downhill road. Blink and you’ll miss it.
7. Exeter High Street: Probably the busiest spectator point on the 85-mile route, likely to create a great atmosphere.
8. Outside Powderham Castle, Kenton: Then make a trip to one of England's oldest family homes.
9. Moretonhampstead town centre: The ancient settlement is notable for having the longest one-word name of any place in the whole of England.
10. Haytor, Dartmoor: The popular tourist spot is also where the race ends. Get ready to cheer the cyclists to the line after an exhausting ride.