THE TOUR of Britain will return to Devon on Thursday September 11.
At a national launch event in London this evening (Monday 31 March), The Tour organisers SweetSpot Group and hosts Devon County Council announced that the Devon Stage of The Tour 2014 will start in Exmouth and will take the long way round to finish in Exeter.
The start and finish venues are a reversal of the 2011 Devon Stage, when Britain’s Mark Cavendish led out his teammate Mark Renshaw for a memorable victory on Exmouth seafront.
Following the success of last year’s Devon Stage from Sidmouth to Dartmoor, which attracted a record 250,000 spectators and generated almost £5.9 million of additional spending in the county, it is hoped the local economy will enjoy a similar boost this year.
The Devon Stage will be Stage 5 of The Tour 2014 and will cover around 106 miles (171 km) of the county. It will take in a number of communities en route, including Budleigh Salterton, Woodbury, Topsham, Exminster, Starcross, Chudleigh, Bovey Tracey, Haytor, Widecombe in the Moor, Princetown, Tavistock, Okehampton, Copplestone, and Crediton.
Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Highway Management, said: “Last year’s Devon Stage was a fantastic occasion and a perfect way to celebrate the tenth anniversary of The Tour. Record breaking crowds turned out across the county, which was a welcome boost for the local economy, and this year’s Devon Stage promises to provide another great showcase for our beautiful county as a premier destination for cycling tourism.
“It will be a chance for Devon to celebrate the completion of the Exe Estuary Trail, which is due to be completed later this year, and the route also takes in other important cycling centres. It covers Dartmoor, which is benefiting from the Granite and Gears project; Tavistock, which is home to Drake’s Trail; and Okehampton, which has the Granite Way.
"Spectators will be able to watch the race and make a day of it by enjoying a ride on any of these trails. As we saw in 2011, this route provides a great opportunity for people to make use of the Exe Estuary Trail to see both the start and the finish, and this is another world class sporting event in Exeter ahead of the 2015 Rugby World Cup.”
It will be the eighth consecutive year that The Tour has visited Devon. Over the past seven years more than a million people have watched the race in Devon along the various Stage routes around the county, and it has brought in around £27 million to the local economy.
Race Director Mick Bennett said: “The Devon Stage of The Tour is always highly popular with riders and spectators alike for the challenge it presents, and this year will be no different with a challenging loop across Dartmoor, including the climb of Haytor.
"The Exeter to Exmouth stage in 2011 was one of our best ever days racing, with fantastic support from the Devon crowds, so running in the opposite direction and coming after the success of last year’s Haytor finish, I think we can once again predict bumper crowds and exciting racing.”
This year’s Tour of Britain will have the race’s biggest ever line-up of top tier UCI Pro Teams in the 18-team field, led by the likes of Team Sky, who won last year’s Tour with Sir Bradley Wiggins, and Spanish squad Movistar, who won both the Yodel Direct Sprints jersey and SKODA King of the Mountains jersey.
Other teams announced to be taking part are Omega Pharma– Quick-Step, BMC Racing, Tinkoff – Saxo, Cannondale, Garmin Sharp, Team Giant Shimano, and Belkin Pro Cycling. The full line-up of teams for The Tour of Britain will be announced in the Summer.
At the national launch of the 2014 Tour in Canary Wharf it was revealed that the race would start in Liverpool on Sunday 7 September and finish in London with an individual time trial and a circuit race on Sunday 14 September.
For more information go to www.southwesttourofbritain.co.uk and www.tourofbritain.co.uk and on Twitter follow @SWTourofBritain.