Turn out in Devizes to greet Tour of Britain
Devizes deputy town clerk Simon Fisher hopes Wiltshire can compete with Yorkshire in welcoming pro-cyclists, including Sir Bradley Wiggins, when the Tour of Britain hits the county.
His ambitions were given a boost when Team Sky boss Sir Dave Brailsford confirmed Sir Bradley would be his team leader for the Tour of Britain, which reaches the county on September 12.
The town clerk said: “We really want to make the most of this opportunity for a big sporting event to be coming through Devizes and for people to see it could be a good place to visit.”
“We are hoping to have schools all along the route as the race comes into Devizes, so we are identifying safe places for children to stand.”
One highlight will be a time stage in Bath Road. Riders who finish in the first three spots gain points towards the overall title of top sprinter.
Top British sprinter Mark Cavendish looks set to be in contention, after recovering from shoulder injuries sustained during the Tour de France.
Mr Fisher has written to town businesses and asked them to decorate shops with bicycles. Bunting put up for Devizes Carnival may also stay in place.
He said: “We are having some special banners made and Hills Waste will be organising a bike safety event on The Green.
“The cyclists will pass through quickly, but we hope to have things on The Green that will keep the crowds entertained for longer.”
Devizes Area Board chairman Simon Jacobs is also hoping the town will support the event.
He said: “We haven’t got any money to put towards this, but I hope traders and schools will support the race.”
Roads along the route will start to shut from 10.20am, as the riders approach Wiltshire through Bradford on Avon. Rolling closures will be used ahead of the peloton.
Council leader Jane Scott said: “We are really looking forward to seeing our local communities come out to support the riders at the roadside.
“I hope that, by seeing the race first hand, it will inspire people to get out and about on their bikes across the many beautiful cycle routes that we offer in Wiltshire.
“We hope schools will take the opportunity to allow children to see the race and show their support for the elite riders.”
Trowbridge pupils will watch the race pass County Hall.