Tour of Britain cycling race to give multi-million pound boost to Surrey
SOME of the world's best cyclists will speed through Mole Valley later this year as part of the Tour of Britain, it has been confirmed.
The UK's biggest professional cycle race's penultimate stage sweeps into Surrey on Saturday, September 21 and is set to provide a multi-million pound boost for the county.
The 96-mile Surrey stage will pass through Epsom, Leatherhead, East Horsley, Dorking, Holmbury St Mary, Cranleigh and Shere.
Cyclists will then continue on to Send, Woking, Ottershaw, Chobham, Knaphill, Normandy, Elstead, Churt, Farnham and finish in Guildford.
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Alastair Grant, the tour's commercial director, said: "Mole Valley is an ideal location for a cycling event in Surrey. There we have the lovely towns and also the beautiful landscapes in the Surrey Hills.
"It's also somewhere that can be very well presented by hosting an event like this because the pictures go out around the world."
The announcement of more major cycling coming to Mole Valley comes after thousands of people lined the streets to watch the Olympic cycle races last summer and confirms the district as the country's cycling capital.
The rider line-up has not yet been announced, but previous competitors include former world champion and Tour de France stage winner Mark Cavendish and Olympic gold medallist and Tour de France winner Sir Bradley Wiggins.
The team behind the tour is based in Weybridge.
"It's a source of great pride that we can bring the event to our home area and we're really looking forward to this year and hopefully many more to come," added Mr Grant.
"200,000 people came out to watch the Surrey part of the route last year so we're delighted to be bringing the race back and looking forward to what's sure to be another successful year this summer."
This year's Surrey stage is even tougher than in 2012, with daunting climbs over the first half of the race before some flat-out sprints in the run up to Guildford.
Mr Grant said he believed the Surrey leg of the race would be extremely important.
"We're pretty sure that the leader at the Surrey stage will be the winner overall so that will be a really crucial day," he said. The preparations are all starting to come together.
"This is our tenth year, so we are a well-oiled machine. We had our first year in Surrey last year and that was extremely successful."
Last year's Tour of Britain generated almost £7.2 million for Surrey's economy and was watched by almost one million television viewers on each of the event's eight days.
This year's race will again be televised.
"It's going to be very exciting," said Councillor Caroline Salmon, chairman of Mole Valley District Council.
"Obviously, there's a great deal of interest in cycling here.
"It will allow people to see the beautiful Mole Valley countryside. It's great for anyone who wants to come in from outside and see our marvellous area."