There may still be over ten weeks until the Tour of Britain visits Derbyshire – but Belper is already awash with cycling fever.
Large crowds are expected to turn out in the town to catch a glimpse of star names in the world of cycling, as they compete in the 189-kilometre stage six of the event on Friday, September 11.
Britain’s premier road cycle race will start in Stoke and finish in Nottingham, with the toughest stage of the tour passing through large parts of Derbyshire including Belper.
Derbyshire County Council recently confirmed the route for its stretch in Belper.
A spokesperson said: “The riders will come down the A517 from Turnditch, over the bridge on the A6 to the roundabout, then they will follow the A609 New Road onto Spencer Road. They will then head on to the A609 Kilbourne Road towards Ilkeston.
“There will be a rolling roadblock with the police closing the necessary roads just before the cyclists arrive.”
Derbyshire County Council Deputy Cabinet Member for Highways, Transport and Infrastructure, Cllr John Owen, said: “We’re delighted to welcome the Aviva Tour of Britain to Derbyshire and want to make sure that our local businesses make the most of the opportunities it will bring.
“The Tour will bring a boost to local businesses with visitors staying over in the county to make the most of our food and drink and tourist attractions.
“We’d like to encourage accommodation providers and tourist attractions to think about putting on special offers for the weekend – to encourage people to really make a weekend of it.”
Derrick Woodings, club president at Belper Bicycle Club, hopes the town can follow in the footsteps of similar big cycling events across the UK.
He said: “It last visited Belper a while ago and it’s not often an event like this comes to town.
“The stage that comes through Belper is quite a hilly one. It’s not particularly long but it’s steep, especially if it’s going through New Road - it’s quite a climb.
“Cycling has grown in the UK over the last five or six years and it will be nice to see Belper supporting the sport.”
Kevin Churchill is the owner of Belper Cycles, situated on Bridge Street, and the Tour’s arrival comes shortly after the first anniversary of his shop’s opening. He hopes people will come out in their droves to welcome the riders.
Kevin said: “There’s a thriving bike club in Belper and of course there’s the Amber Valley on our doorstep.
“We’ll see the riders come right past and hopefully we’ll do something closer to the time to celebrate it coming here.
“It will be nice to see lots of people line the streets and hopefully some of them will pop in to our store too!”
Amber Valley mayor Trevor Ainsworth has put his full support behind the race visiting the region.
He said: “This is brilliant news for the Amber Valley and Belper.
“It will be very exciting and I will be a spectator on the day, having watched the Tour in the past at close quarters.
“It’s great for all those cyclists that use the roads through Amber Valley on a weekly basis to see an international Tour on their roads.
“I cannot imagine that the competitors will get to enjoy our wonderful countryside, but it will bring visitors to Amber Valley who will.
“They may also be fortunate enough to visit the Belper area and its award-winning town.”
Belper town mayor Dan Booth also hopes that the Tour’s visit will promote the town in a positive light.
He said: “Any event that promotes Belper and brings people to our town is great in my view.
“Hopefully visitors will spend some time in Belper and will be encouraged to come and visit us again soon.”
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