A national cycling event was launched today (Saturday) on the Isle of Wight — confirming the Island will host the final stage of the Tour of Britain.
Top cyclists will be making their way to the Island in September 2022 as part of the Tour of Britain.
Isle of Wight Council leader, Dave Stewart, signed on the dotted line, committing the Island to its hosting duties.
Start of charity tour
To mark the occasion, a team of cyclists, including professional cyclist Pippa York, set off from Ryde on ‘The Great Tour’ — a 6,700km 64-day ride around Britain raising money for charities.
Speaking at the event, Cllr Stewart said he wanted the whole Island to get behind the event, which could attract more than 150,000 spectators while being shown on television around the world.
Stewart: It is the first part of signing up to the Tour of Britain
“This has been a fantastic start to the fourth of July for the Isle of Wight – at Ryde. We have launched the Great Tour with some really top-level people. It is the first part of signing up to the Tour of Britain.
“I just want to get the whole Island behind it. I think it is fantastic: it is good for health and well-being, good for our Island, our economy and good for cycling and that is what we are all about now.”
2021 Cycling Festival
Other cycling events are also proposed to be held on the Island in the meantime, including a cycling festival next year.
Tour of Britain, managing director, Hugh Roberts, who is taking part in the circumnavigation of the British Isles, said they were launching the Great Tour in Ryde to help make the Island a future cycling destination – especially with the increased take up of cycling due to the Covid-19 lockdown.
Roberts: The epicentre of it all
“This is going to be the epicentre of it all. We start here in Ryde and go all the way around the Island, for about 88km today. Then we are going to go to Southampton and ride anti-clockwise around the island of Britain.
“We then come back here on the 5th September having ridden the whole circumference of the British Island.
“[The Tour of Britain] is really exciting news and we are hoping to try and turn the Isle of Wight into a place where people come for their cycling holidays in future.”
Mr Roberts said he thought the route might end in the south-western part of the Island with a big climb, but didn’t know any more specifics.
Whittle: Tour of Britain team and Sweetspot love the Island
Cllr Wayne Whittle, cabinet member for regeneration and business development, said the cycling event, like those the Island has hosted before, will help put us on the map.
“We have had lots of meetings with the Tour of Britain team and Sweetspot and they love the Island, they want to make it a venue for cycling renowned in the UK.
“Things like this put the Island on the map. We want to open the Island up to all different demographics of the population to introduce them to our beautiful Island and that is what this is all about.”
Hosting Tour of Britain will cost £340,000
Holding the final stage of the cycling race is expected to cost the council £340,000 but said it hoped to meet most of the cost through sponsorship and had already agreed to appoint a third party to secure the funding.
This article is from the BBC’s LDRS (Local Democracy Reporter Service) scheme, which OnTheWight is taking part in. Some alterations and additions may be been made by OnTheWight. Ed