Britain’s premier cycling event – the Tour of Britain – will hit the highways of Cheshire East in September, with a challenging leg which takes in the Cat and Fiddle A537 road, a steep climb of more than ten kilometres.
Cheshire East residents will be able to watch from close distance, some of the world’s most famous riders as they whizz through villages and towns, including Congleton in the south – where the event will start - and Knutsford in the north, where the 182 kilometre stage will finish in the picturesque setting of Tatton Park.
Top riders such as Sir Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish have competed in the past, but the complete line-up for 2016 will not be known until nearer the event, which starts on September 4, in Glasgow.
Cheshire East will host stage three of the tour from Tuesday, September 6, with the race reaching its climax in London on September 11.
Newly-elected Leader of Cheshire East Council, Councillor Rachel Bailey, said: “We feel truly privileged to be hosting this wonderful spectacle in the Borough and delighted that the Tour have selected Cheshire East to host this third stage of what is a captivating sporting event.
“As a Council we believe passionately in promoting healthy sports such as cycling.
“In Cheshire East we have well over 200 miles of cycle routes, including 167 miles of National Cycle Network, plus traffic-free routes, including the Middlewood Way, Wheelock Rail Trail and Biddulph Valley linear trails.
“All this is testament to our commitment to promoting this activity for families and to the enthusiasm shown by our residents and cycling clubs.
“We hope that this event will inspire many others to take up cycling, whether for sport or leisure.”
The stage will include a 10.5 kilometre climb into the Peak District, finishing at the Cat and Fiddle Inn, the second highest public house in England at 515 metres above sea level.
It is expected to be one of the toughest parts of the entire eight-day event. Another is the climb of Haytor on Dartmoor.
Spectators at the finish line in Tatton Park will get an added bonus as the competitors will complete a mid-stage passage through the park before returning to cross the finish line.
Race director Mick Bennett, said: “Stage three will present spectators with the chance to see the Tour of Britain race on more than one occasion.
“Tatton Park will be one of the best locations for spectators on this year’s route.
“Cheshire East offers competitors the gently rolling roads of the Cheshire Plain with some key climbs such as the Cat and Fiddle and we are working with our partners at Cheshire East Council to bring the Tour of Britain to as many of the communities in the Borough as possible.”
Councillor Sam Gardner, Cabinet member for open spaces, said: “Events such as the Tour of Britain and Tour de France have generated huge interest in cycling together with the many other cycling events and tournaments that take place in Britain and abroad.
“The success of many of our Olympic and Commonwealth competitors has also stimulated a great following for the sport.
“Cycling is big in Cheshire and we anticipate a huge turn out at the roadside. And we are grateful to the Tour for selecting Cheshire East to host this third stage of the event.”
Revived in 2004 and last seen in Cheshire in 2012, the Tour of Britain will once again be broadcast live on ITV4. There will be three-hours of coverage showing each stage plus a highlights programme.
The 2016 Tour of Britain takes place between Sunday, September 4 and Sunday, September 11. It is the biggest free spectator sport and followed by millions around the world.
Cheshire East Council will be making further announcements about the event and how residents and children can get involved by following the build up.
Watch out for further updates on the Cheshire East Council web site or visit: www.cheshiretourofbritain.co.uk
For further detailed information about the Tour of Britain go to http://www.tourofbritain.co.uk/