The excitement has been building for weeks and now the day has finally arrived when the Tour of Britain will begin, right here in Cornwall.
Starting at 11am in Penzance, the tour featuring some of the world’s top riders, will make its way 111 miles across Cornwall before ending in Bodmin mid-afternoon.
The race then continues for a further seven stages through Devon, Wales, Cheshire and Cumbria, on to Edinburgh, finishing in Aberdeen on September 12.
Read more: Saint Piran scoops first ever continental win on eve of Tour of Britain
The annual Tour of Britain is the UK’s leading professional multi-stage cycling race and the biggest free to watch spectator event in the country.
It is televised live on ITV4 and Eurosport to at least 500,000 viewers, and also covered nationally on BBC Radio 5 Live and by local broadcasters.
It is the most prestigious road race cycling event in the UK, and has the potential to draw a large number of visitors and spectators, bringing a considerable economic boost to Cornwall and increased overnight stays.
But it will have its effects on travel in the county as roads will be closed for the racers to pass along roads and through towns and villages. The whole route will not be closed off for the entire race, which will last about five hours and cover much of the county as it zig-zags through.
Instead there will be rolling road closures as the riders progress, meaning routes will be closed to traffic in each area to let them through. Each location will be subject to the rolling road closures, which will begin 15 minutes before the first cyclist pedals past, and last 30 to 40 minutes in total.
Here’s everything you need to know on the biggest day for Cornwall since G7…
‘Quick and efficient’ road closures
The council is working in partnership with the race organisers SweetSpot, British Cycling, and Penzance and Bodmin Town Councils, in particular on vital aspects including public health, traffic management, and liaison with town and parish councils representing the many communities through which this first stage passes.
Stephen Rushworth, Cabinet member for the economy, said: “The Tour of Britain race will be a great shop window for Cornwall, showcasing our dedication to carbon-free transport and a greener future, our world class cycling facilities, and ability to host major events.
“Unlike the G7 Summit this event is spread countywide, it is all outdoors, and focused on just one day. Live TV and radio coverage, and aerial photography, will draw a worldwide audience, and the race itself will be an exciting spectacle.”
Cornwall Council and its roads contractor Cormac have produced a traffic management plan for the event which includes a route plan overview, town plans, route traffic management measures, parking on route and other parking provision, public transport, communication plans and signage.
Devon and Cornwall Police, Cornwall’s blue light emergency services and public health experts have been involved in all planning related to public safety. The race now has a specially appointed Covid officer, Rachel Oaten, with a background in acute care in the south west, as well as cycling event experience including the Tour Series and RideLondon.
Philip Desmonde, Cornwall Council’s Cabinet member for transport, said: “Making this event safe for spectators and participants is paramount, but our traffic management plan has also been designed to minimise disruption to residents and other traffic, particularly public and commercial transport. The race day is a Sunday with the advantage of reduced traffic flow, but nonetheless we understand that residents and businesses will need advice on what happens if the race is passing their front doors.”
“The race route has been carefully chosen to avoid any trunk roads such as the dual carriageway A30, or Cornwall’s other main arteries. This will help keep commercial traffic and public transport flowing. And most of the course will experience a quick and efficient ‘rolling road closure’ which means only a temporary halt to traffic.”
Watch the video at the top of this article to see how a rolling road closure works.
Here are the route and estimated timings so that you know where the disruption will take place:
11.00 am – Penzance Western Promenade – START
11.28 am – St Just
11.30 am – Botallack
11.33 am – Pendeen
11.37 am – Morvah
11.48 am – Zennor 1st King of the Mountain
11.54 am – Rosewall Hill 2nd King of the Mountain / St Ives
12.02 pm – Carbis Bay
12.06 pm – Lelant
12.10 pm – Hayle 1st Sprint
12.19 pm – Gwithian
12.29 pm – Barripper
12.31 pm – Camborne
12.41 pm – Redruth
12.48 pm – Penhalvean
12.52 pm – Stithians
1.01 pm – Longdowns
1.04 pm – Mabe / Burnthouse
1.08 pm – Falmouth
1.14 pm – Swanpool Road
1.17 pm Castle Drive, Falmouth
1.28 pm – Penryn 2nd Sprint
1.34 pm – Perranworthal
1.38 pm – Carnon Downs 3rd King of the Mountain
1.46 pm – Truro
1.53 pm – Shortlanesend
2.00 pm – Zelah
2.15 pm – Newquay
2.24 pm – Quintrell Downs
2.43 pm – St Stephen
2.53 pm – St Austell
3.00 pm – Bodelva Road
3.15 pm – Bugle
3.24 pm – Lanivet
3.30 pm – Bodmin – FINISH
Here is some advice on how to get the best view:
· Firstly, spectators are encouraged to use existing off-highway cycle routes, especially at the busy start and finish locations of Penzance (from Marazion) and Bodmin (using the Camel trail).
· For cars, there will be a special event park and ride service for the finish at Bodmin next to the rugby club (just off the A30). And there are the usual summer season park and ride facilities for Newquay and Falmouth along with the permanent Truro park and ride service.
· In areas where public parking is allowed, car parking spaces will be available on a first come, first served basis. People are therefore advised to arrive at their chosen location early or using public transport where available.
· However, where current traffic and parking arrangements could become a risk to the safety of spectators and riders, on-street parking restrictions will be put in place. Spectators may be asked to move their car if they use on-street parking near where the race passes. This is part of a sequence of no stopping areas or ‘clearways’, as shown in the attached information. Alternative parking is being considered in some areas and information on this will be provided ahead of the event.
Read more: Five top spots to watch this year’s Tour of Britain in Cornwall
· For both the start and finish those with special needs will have easy access to the route. Reasonable attempts will be made for those with access needs, and areas allocated to give wheelchair users an unobstructed view of the race as it passes by.
· In Penzance and Bodmin there will be giant TV screens so everyone can follow the action. Live TV and radio coverage and aerial photography will draw a worldwide audience.
· As much as possible the council will provide information on what time of day to expect the rolling road closure to be occurring near you.
· There is advice for spectators, residents and motorists, and a list of helpful questions and answers, at this link.
Check the Tour of Britain route at this link, and begin planning how you and your family can best enjoy this unique sporting event.
Multiple Tour De France points winner Mark Cavendish, Tokyo Medallists Wout Van Aert, Ethan Hayter and Rohan Dennis and UCI road world champion Julian Alphilippe are among the stars and riders comprising 20 different nationalities heading to Cornwall for the Tour of Britain.
Mark Cavendish, will be leading the lineup for the Deceuninck-Quick-Step team as he seeks to further expand on his record as winner of the most stages in Tour of Britain history.
He will be up against three riders who are fresh from Tokyo 2020 success, with Wout Van Aert (Team Jumbo-Visma), and INEOS-Grenadiers duo Ethan Hayter and Rohan Dennis.
Joining the battle for the Tour of Britain crown will be Reigning UCI road world champion Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) and former stage winners Michael Kwiatkowski (INEOS Grenadiers), Andre Greipel, Alex Dowsett, Matthias Brandle (Israel Start-Up Nation) and Tony Martin (Team Jumbo-Visma) in addition to cycling stars Mark Soler (Movistar team), Dan Martin, Michael Woods (Israel Start-Up Nation) and Richie Porte (INEOS Grenadiers).
Four of the race’s former SKODA King of the Mountains winners will also be competing with Xandro Meurisse (Alpecin-Fenix), Lukasz Owsian (Team Arkea-Samsic), Nic Dlamini (Team Qhubeka NextHash) and Jacob Scott (Canyon dhb SunGod).
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