Tour of Britain to kick off from Reigate
OLYMPIC heroes could be among cyclists pedalling through Reigate when the final stage of the Tour of Britain kicks off from the town.
Bike fever has gripped Surrey over the past two weeks, with the Olympic cycle road races and time trials drawing hundreds of thousands of spectators onto the streets.
It means expectation for the Tour of Britain – the biggest annual cycling contest in the country – has soared. Tour bosses expect up to 10,000 people in Reigate on September 16, the final day of the eight-stage race.
Richard Barnes, manager at Finch Cycles in Bell Street, said: "I don't think people realise yet how big the Tour of Britain is going to be for the town.
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"It is going to be awesome. I worked in Canterbury when it came through there and the whole town came out, it was incredible."
"There is a huge buzz around cycling at the moment. I went up to Box Hill for the ladies' road race and I was amazed by the amount of people there. The atmosphere was just electric."
Racing will officially begin just outside the town, at Moon Hall College in Flanchford Road, but the riders will first set off from Priory Park at midday to complete a formation parade lap, cycling the wrong way around the Reigate one-way system, before heading off down Bell Street and Prices Lane.
All the riders have not yet been confirmed. But Team Sky counts Tour de France champion and Olympic golden boy Bradley Wiggins, Mark Cavendish, Olympic time trial bronze medallist Chris Froome and team pursuit gold medallist Geraint Thomas among their riders.
Peter Hodges, spokesman of the Tour of Britain, said: "I am pretty sure that whoever rides for Sky, there will be at least one big name.
"The first part of the race is always neutralised, when the riders build up speed, get used to the conditions, talk to their team cars. They will go at eight tenths, rather than ten tenths for the first five or six kilometres, but it still looks like a cycle race. We are really looking forward to it and hope everyone comes out."