Tour of Britain
Stage 2 – North Devon
The Tour De France (TDF) is the biggest annual sporting event in the world, but not everyone knows that Britain has its own ‘Tour’, a race that has been running since 1945. Through it’s history it has gone through numerous name changes, and is currently known as the Ovo Energy Tour of Britain with this year’s event starting on 2nd September and covering 1,140 kilometres. The route runs from Pembrey Country Park on the Carmarthenshire coast in South Wales to the streets of Central London, via Devon, Bristol, Warwickshire, Cumbria and Nottinghamshire.
After a year’s absence the OVO Energy Tour of Britain returns to the South West of England on Stage Two. Day two of this year’s race will depart from Cranbrook, and finish in Barnstaple, who last welcomed the race back in 2012.
Stage 2 features barely a metre of flat road all day, which means it will be a tough day in the saddle for all the riders. Tough climbs early in the stage could pose problems and split the race up early, but the crucial factor will be the steep and narrow climb of Challacombe Hill. Taking place on Monday 3rd September, the second stage of the route will take in Ilfracombe, Woolacombe and Croyde, the world class cycle race will take in some of the area’s beautiful countryside, not to mention some very step climbs!
The tour is due to arrive in Ilfracombe at 14:18, they then climb the hill to Mullacott roundabout before turning towards Woolacombe, passing the Pink House, and Fortescue Arms, heading past Woolacombe Sands and taking the hill down towards The Red Barn where they are expected to reach just after 14:30, before starting that step climb up Challacombe Hill and turning towards Georgeham.
Because road racing is done on public roads, it is one of the few sports that allows the public virtually unlimited access to events. Rolling road closures along the route will typically come into action 15 to 20 minutes ahead of the lead riders, so if you want to watch the race, make sure you get in place in plenty of time.
Interest in the UK is sure to be high given Geraint Thomas’s victory in this year’s TDF, the sixth British winner in the last seven years of that event. British success in our own tour has not been so spectacular, with only two home riders successful in those seven years, Steve Cummings in 2016 and Bradley Wiggins in 2012.