More route details have been announced for when the Tour of Britain comes to Northumberland later this year.
In March, we reported that part of the UK’s biggest and most prestigious cycle race was to be staged in the county.
Northumberland will host an entire stage of the event, starting in Kielder and finishing in Blyth, on Monday, September 4 – the second day of the challenge.
Last month, details of the route had not been announced, but now organisers have released more information, saying that the riders will pass through the likes of Rothbury, Alnwick, Bamburgh and Morpeth, plus other communities along the way.
Specific route details will be unveiled later in the year.
At just over 211 kilometres, the Northumberland stage will be the longest of the 2017 Tour, and also include a finishing loop, giving spectators in Blyth the chance to see the race twice.
It comes on the back of the successful 2015 race, when the county hosted two days of the event, but not an entire leg.
Research showed that the direct economic impact of hosting the Tour in Northumberland was £2.13million.
Northumberland County Council has worked with start sponsors Northumbrian Water, finish sponsors Blyth Town Council and race organisers SweetSpot to bring the race to the county.
OVO Energy, the UK’s top rated independent energy supplier, was recently announced as the title sponsor of the Tour of Britain.
The Tour is set to be broadcast in more than 120 countries, including live coverage on ITV4, which will further raise the profile of the county to an international audience.
Northumberland County Council chief executive Steven Mason said: “This is fantastic news for the county.
“The race will showcase our county, heritage and iconic landmarks to an international audience and bring major investment into Northumberland, while providing a fantastic opportunity for us all to enjoy a wonderful sporting spectacle.
“We know from events like last year’s North Sea Tall Ships Regatta what an economic boost these high-profile visits can bring and we’re confident the Tour will be no exception.”
The Tour of Britain gives cycling fans the opportunity to see the world’s best teams and riders competing on their door step. It takes place from Sunday, September 3, to Sunday, September 10.
Northumberland residents are being urged to decorate the route in the distinctive red and gold colours of the Northumberland flag and line the streets, like they did in 2015.
Race director Mick Bennett said: “Our visit to Northumberland in 2015 was so successful it is fantastic news that we can return with a full stage of the OVO Energy Tour of Britain in the county this September.
“The route enables us to visit areas of Northumberland that will be new to the race, while also taking the Tour back to Blyth.
“We have worked with Northumberland County Council to create a loop through the finishing line, which will give fans at the finish the chance to see the world’s top riders in action twice.”
For more information about the Tour in Northumberland, visit www.nlandtob.com