Ribble Valley takes centre stage for cycling extravaganza

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Thousands lined the streets of Clitheroe and surrounding villages today (Monday) to watch Stage two of the Aviva Tour of Britain.

Cycling enthusiasts, local residents and tourists came out en masse to capture a glimpse of the historic event and the Tour’s cyclists.

Tour of Britain leaving Clitheroe. (s)

Tour of Britain leaving Clitheroe. (s)

Following an overcast and misty start, the sun shone as the town welcomed some of the biggest names in cycling including Sir Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish.

Before the start of the race, Sir Bradley signed autographs and posed for photos with youngsters outside of the Team Wiggins’ bus parked at the bottom of Moor Lane.

“Fantastic”, “amazing” and “buzzing” were just some of the superlatives used to describe the atmosphere in Clitheroe town centre as the UK’s highest ranked cycle race powered off the starting blocks on Castle Street.

Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans, who was there enjoying the event, said: “I’m absolutely thrilled and delighted with the turn out.

“Never in my 24 years as an MP have I ever seen anything like this.

“All the villages have been decorated themselves up for what is going to be a super day. People are going to talk about this for decades to come.

“It has attracted thousands of tourists who have seen what a beautiful area this is and I’m sure there will be many return visitors.”

Riders headed off on their clockwise route via the Nick o’ Pendle, Whalley, Longridge, Dunsop Bridge and Slaidburn in the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, before heading into Pendle via Barnoldswick and Earby, then briefly returning to Clitheroe and on to Whalley for a second time, before Nelson and finally, the finish line in Colne.

For the full story and a picture special see this Thursday’s Clitheroe Advertiser and Times.