Cycling’s Tour of Britain will return to Surrey next year after massive crowds made today’s race on the county’s roads a huge success.
Surrey County Council has signed up with Weybridge-based tour organisers SweetSpot to host a stage of Britain’s biggest professional bike race for the second successive year next September*.
It comes after Surrey staged the Olympic road races and time trials before launching an annual event based on the Games route with London Mayor Boris Johnson to feed the nation’s new-found enthusiasm for cycling.
Huge crowds massed in Surrey for the final stage of this year’s Tour of Britain, creating scenes reminiscent of this summer’s Olympic events.
Up to 200,000 people were expected to line the roadside between Reigate and Guildford to roar for British superstar Mark Cavendish, who sprinted to victory on the stage. British rider Jonathan Tiernan-Locke claimed overall victory in the eight-day tour.
Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Services and the 2012 Games Helyn Clack said: “Watching the riders gunning for glory through Surrey was spectacular so we’re delighted to welcome the Tour of Britain back next year and further cement Surrey’s reputation as a world class place to ride.
“We brought the tour here because it will boost the economy by as much as £2.5 million and build on the cycling fever sweeping the country following the Olympic success in Surrey.
“Now we’re looking forward to doing it again next year and teaming up with Boris Johnson for a weekend-long festival to inspire even more people to try out the sport.”
To ensure disruption was kept to a minimum, the county council sent newsletters to residents and businesses along the 90-plus miles of the Surrey stage.
Unlike the Olympic race routes where all roads on the route were closed from early in the morning, most roads for the Tour of Britain were only shut for a short time.
However some were closed longer around the start and finish lines and over steep climbs.
Mrs Clack added: “We’ve seen massive crowds showing real passion for their heroes. People have been absolutely fantastic and it’s thanks to everyone’s efforts that disruption was kept to a minimum.
“The success of the tour is also down to organisations across Surrey, including the police and councils, working closely together.”
* Full details of next year’s stage will be agreed with SweetSpot and announced early next year.