There are just 100 days until the Tour of Britain visits “God’s Own Country” for its Ribble Valley and Pendle stage.
The joint venture between Ribble Valley Borough Council and Pendle Council will see Clitheroe host the start of Stage Two of the Aviva Tour of Britain on Monday, September 7th and Colne the finish.
The Nick o’Pendle climb, Dunsop Bridge, Slaidburn, Barnoldswick, Barrowford and Nelson are expected to feature in the yet to be confirmed route but most predict the peloton is in for a gruelling day regardless among East Lancashire’s most picturesque landscapes.
Earby based company Welcome Cottages, part of Wyndham Vacation Rentals, has been announced as the headline sponsor for the stage, reinforcing its long standing support of cycling in Pendle from elite events such as Colne Grand Prix through to sportive challenges like Ride with Brad.
Managing Director Nick Rudge said: “We couldn’t be more pleased and we’ve been supporting cycling in Pendle now for longer than I can remember. The fervour is building and we couldn’t be more excited.
“We will be lining the roads to cheer on the top cyclists as they pass through Earby.”
Fans will have to wait until next month to see the route in full and later in the year for the lineup of star riders.
While excitement goes up through the gears, cyclists on the day are anticipated to spend much of it going down through them, an irony that has not been lost on either council leader.
Coun. Stuart Hirst, Leader of Ribble Valley Borough Council, said: “We’re really excited about this. It’s a coup for both boroughs. It will greatly enhance the standing, reputation and profile of both of our boroughs.
“For the amount of money involved that we’ve had to layout, it’s minimal comparable to the returns that we expect and the profile it will achieve internationally.
“This a tough route even for the professionals, but then they like that sort of thing.
“It may be tough but it’s very scenic, it’s interesting for various different reasons and it will test them. I think that’s absolutely right. Beautiful countryside, demanding route. Ideal.
“It will cover a lot of the villages in Ribble Valley, many of which have very interesting, historical aspects to them including the geographical centre of the kingdom, Dunsop Bridge.
“So there will be opportunity for the ongoing commentary to showcase some of the beauties of this part of Northern England of which there are many.”
Coun. Mohammed Iqbal, Leader of Pendle Council, said: “This is the toughest route on the Tour of Britain.
“I’m looking forward to the tens of thousands of visitors that will be turning up to Pendle and to Ribble Valley to watch this spectacle and I’m sincerely hopeful they come back month after month, year after year to spend some money in this area.
“There were reservations from the Labour group in terms of the £100,000 investment by Pendle Council. But I’m happy to support the Tour, the contract’s been signed and we’re 100% on board and hope that it’s a fantastic success for the people of Pendle.
“This is God’s Own Country in my opinion, Lancashire is God’s Own area and East Lancashire, Pendle and Ribble Valley certainly are something worth visiting, both on a beautiful day, and even if it’s raining it’s still beautiful up here.”