The leader of Northumberland County Council has spoken of his delight after today’s stage of the OVO Energy Tour of Britain.
During the 211km Kielder Water and Forest Park to Blyth stage, the riders also went through Rothbury, Alnwick, Belford, Bamburgh, Warkworth, Widdrington, Morpeth, Choppington, Bedlington and Seaton Delaval, among other towns and villages.
In some of these places, fun activities were organised for adults and children to enjoy.
County council leader Peter Jackson said: “We’ve had the most fantastic day in Northumberland – it was great to have our own dedicated stage of the Tour of Britain.
“The towns and villages that the bike race went through have put in a fantastic effort to support this event.
“This was an excellent example of the county’s drive to promote itself and showcase to the wider world what wonderful places we have in our county to visit, the coastline that we have and the classic houses that we have in order to help attract tourist to the area.”
Elia Viviani won the stage, but not without controversy as Edvald Boasson Hagen was initially declared the winner, before being relegated to the back of the main field for deviating in the sprint.
Viviani had crossed the line second behind the Norwegian, but Team Sky lodged a protest after the Dimension Data rider moved to his left in the sprint and was adjudged by the race jury to have impeded the Italian.
Boasson Hagen was conciliatory after the finish, acknowledging that he had unintentionally moved across on the run to the line in Blyth.
Having started the initial breakaway in the Northumberland National Park area, once the race was heading down the Northumberland coastline into Blyth it was Matt Holmes again who put in numerous attempts to get away as the peloton bore down on them.
The Madison Genesis man went clear as they made their first passage of the line in Blyth, and held on as far as the Eisberg Sprint in Seaton Sluice before being caught.
At that instant, Quick-Step Floors’ Philippe Gilbert took up the reigns, threatening to hold off the peloton on the run back to Blyth, but was reeled in by the Sky and Dimension Data-led peloton to set up the thrilling, but controversial, sprint to the line.