South Lakeland prepares to welcome the OVO Tour of Britain

6 September 2019

Final preparations are being made to welcome the OVO Tour of Britain to South Lakeland once again as the riders ready themselves for one of the event’s toughest finishes.

Stage Four of the eight-day race, known as “the Queens Stage” as it’s the hardest in this year’s Tour of Britain, will finish in Kendal on Tuesday after visiting communities it has never passed through before.

Race Director Mick Bennett said: “We’re really excited about returning to Kendal for our fourth race finish there. The climb of Beast Banks has become iconic in the cycling world, thanks to its brutal gradients and thrilling racing it has produced in 2007, 2013 and 2016. Every stage winner in the town has thoroughly deserved their victory and that will once again be the case on Tuesday 10 September!”

The 171.5km stage, will start in Gateshead and cross the Pennines before heading through the Yorkshire Dales National Park, passing through Sedbergh, Barbondale, and Kirkby Lonsdale for the first time in its history before heading into Kendal up Beast Banks to tackle the 500-metre, 11 per cent average climb to finish the race on Greenside at approximately 3.20pm.

This will be the fourth time that the race has finished in Kendal, with international names in the cycling world taking part, including 10-time stage winner Mark Cavendish and 2016 champion Steve Cummings, who both ride for Team Dimension Data, Mikel Landa, who finished sixth in this year’s Tour de France, and Julien Vermote, who won stage two of the 2016 race in Kendal.

Cumbria County Council is the main sponsor and co-host for Stage 4 with the organisers SweetSpot, supported by us as main local partner.

Councillor Robin Ashcroft, Portfolio Holder for Economy, Culture and Leisure, said: “We are delighted to welcome the OVO Tour of Britain to South Lakeland again. As well as the excitement of the riders passing through communities the Tour has never visited before, we know from experience Kendal is the perfect location for an exciting stage finish and a great day out.

“This will be the fourth time the Tour has finished a stage in Kendal and excitement is building as the whole community gets involved to show our support and take on board the positive messages about the benefits of an active lifestyle. The coverage will also showcase our wonderful district to hundreds of thousands of people and underline the fact the South Lakeland really is the best place to live, work and explore, and that we are successfully working with others to safeguard that.”

ITV4 will screen live free-to-air coverage flag-to-flag of each stage in the UK, along with a nightly highlights programme of the best of the action at 8pm. Coverage of the race will be shown internationally in over 120 countries.

One of the key aims of hosting the Tour will be to encourage more people to get on their bikes and take up cycling, promoting health benefits for young and old alike. Last year up to 61 per cent of people who watched the OVO Energy Tour of Britain in Cumbria said they were inspired to cycle more often.

Last year Cumbria hosted two stages of the event, with a reported  £10.8m economic boost to the county, 240,000 spectators and 1.5 million UK TV viewers over the two days.

Community involvement

Wheels for All, a local accessible cycling club, have been invited to do some demos of their specialist equipment and activities along Greenside in the run-up to the race finish. British Cycling are also running activities for children around the finish area.

Live coverage of the race will be shown on the big screen indoors at Kendal Town Hall which has full disabled access and at the finish location on Greenside

Land art displays are planned on school grounds at Sedbergh School, Sedbergh Primary School, Settlebeck School, Kirkby Lonsdale Primary School and Queen Elizabeth School, with banners and flags planned for many of the communities where people will gather to watch the race.

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