OVO Energy Tour of Britain

The OVO Energy Tour of Britain will return to Stratford-on-Avon District for the second year in a row on Friday 13 September 2019 as part of its Warwickshire stage.

Warwick Racecourse will be the official start of Stage Seven of the tour, the UK's biggest and most prestigious international cycling event. The Warwickshire leg will feature the only summit finish in the eight-stage race, at Burton Dassett Country Park.

Spectators wishing to attend the stage finish can take advantage of a free park and ride service from the British Motor Museum at Gadyon being provided by Johnsons Coaches.

You can find planned road closures for the Warwickshire stage on the Warwickshire County Council website, and other details of the event on the Tour of Britain website including:

The website also contains details of the Tour of Britain's National Land Art competition, which sees communities, schools, clubs, businesses, land owners and farmers being asked to come up with eye-catching creations in support of the event, and is returning this September after the inaugural edition in 2018 captured the imagination of race fans across the UK.

ITV4 will once again 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.

Stage Start and Finish

Once again the stage will be starting in Warwick, but instead of the town centre, from where the OVO Energy Women's Tour started back in June, it will be kicking off from Warwick Racecourse.

The space available at the racecourse will accommodate the larger setup of the 20 men's teams plus the crowds of cycling fans and supporters who will arrive on Friday 13 September.

Warwick RacecourseAll the competing teams will be based at the course as well as additional activities such as face-painting, balloon modelling, pedal-maniacs and street entertainment (all of which are being provided by Warwick District Council) and the riders will roll out at 11am.

British Cycling and their breeze riders will also be leading local cyclists out onto the route ahead of the main event.

Cllr Izzi Seccombe, Leader of Warwickshire County Council, said: "Warwick Racecourse is an important part of Warwick's history and a fantastic attraction for the town.

"I am so pleased that it is hosting the start of the Warwickshire stage of the OVO Energy Tour of Britain and that we can showcase the venue to the whole world.

"There is going to be so much going on during the morning; I want to see everyone from residents to cycling fans turn out to the racecourse on 13 September to make sure we give the racers the right send off."

Organisers of the event are likely to announce in the next few weeks that several of the star names from the recent Tour de France will be taking part in the event, with notable squads such as Team INEOS, Mitchelton Scott and Team Dimension Data all taking part.

Andre Klein, General Manager at Warwick Racecourse, said: "We have seen some thrilling races at Warwick over the last year, but this one is something a little bit different - and certainly the longest!

"It's very exciting to be welcoming world-leading cyclists to our racecourse and we're expecting a packed grandstand to see the stage get underway.

"Having the Tour of Britain start here is the latest in a long line of sporting events that we have hosted and it is testament to the versatility of the racecourse."

The event will travel through all five districts and boroughs of Warwickshire for the first time, hosted by Warwickshire County Council with support from Warwick District Council, Stratford-on-Avon District Council, Rugby Borough Council and North Warwickshire Borough Council, and will once again end in Burton Dassett Country Park.

The 186.5km route includes Warwick, Kenilworth, the University of Warwick, Meriden, Fillongley, Atherstone, Mancetter, Hartshill, Galley Common, Corley, Bedworth, Bulkington, Brinklow, Long Lawford, Bilton, Dunchurch, Kites Hardwick, Princethorpe. It enters Stratford-on-Avon District at Ashorne, before taking in Wellesbourne, Ettington, Edgehill, Warmington, Temple Herdewyke, and three ascents of Burton Dassett on a 12km route.

The peloton will head up towards Meriden via Kenilworth and Berkswell, before travelling across North Warwickshire to Bedworth and Bulkington.

Riders will then head south towards Brinklow and the outskirts of Rugby, and back up to Princethorpe before racing along Fosse Way, down to Wellesbourne, and through Ettington and Edgehill.

Three Eisberg Sprints await competitors during the stage, the first at Berkswell, the second at Brinklow, and the third at Pillerton Priors. Competitors will then face three Skoda King of the Mountain challenges in a gruelling final stretch including two full loops of Burton Dassett County Park before crossing the tour's first-ever hill top finish line.

Pictured: Andre Klein, General Manager at Warwick Racecourse, with Monica Fogarty, chief executive of Warwickshire County Council

Boost for Businesses

Warwickshire's drive to bring the top two UK cycling events to the county could lead to it becoming a major destination for pedalling enthusiasts.

The county hosted the OVO Energy Women's Tour in June, and in September a key stage of the OVO Energy Tour of Britain will start and finish in the county for the third year in succession.

Last year, record numbers turned out to watch both stages attracting some of the largest kerbside crowds across both events.

Now business and tourism chiefs are keen for Coventry and Warwickshire companies to use the events to promote the area.

Jonathan BrowningJonathan Browning, chair of the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership, which is tasked with growing the local economy, is a former chair of British Cycling and believes attracting the two events has really raised the profile of the area as a cycling destination.

"There is no doubt that hosting the OVO Energy events over the last few years has not only got local people out on to the streets to watch, but has also attracted people into the county and highlighted our attributes to a national and international audience," he said.

"That would have been good as a one-off, but Warwickshire's decision to attract the events back over several years gives the area a real opportunity to build some long-term gain.

"We have some great countryside in Warwickshire with enough variety to make it really interesting for cyclists of all levels and when cyclists visit an area for a couple of days, they spend money on food, drink and accommodation.

"I think there is an opportunity off the back of the two major events this year for hospitality businesses to target cycling business."

Figures compiled at last year's OVO Energy Women's Tour showed that more 100,000 spectators lined local streets to see some of the world's top female cyclists.

Almost two thirds of that figure - approximately 63,000 people - was made up of fans coming to Warwickshire to see the race - with an estimated 2,000 travelling from overseas.

The tour also provided a boost to the local economy, with 42 per cent - around £860,000 - of the tour's £2 million net spend coming in Atherstone, where the race officially started, or in Royal Leamington Spa, the finishing point of the stage.

This year's Warwickshire stage on September 13 is 185k long. The start is in Warwick and the world's top riders will pass through the University of Warwick, Kenilworth, Meriden - home to the National Cyclists' Memorial - Atherstone, Bedworth and Wellesbourne.

Riders will climb Sun Rising Hill near Edge Hill before beginning the first of two full loops of a clockwise 12-kilometre finishing circuit around Burton Dassett and Farnborough, giving fans there three chances to see the action.

ITV4 will once again 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.

Helen Peters, Chief Executive of Shakespeare's England, which promotes tourism in South Warwickshire and the surrounding areas, said Warwickshire's long-term approach to the events had attracted national attention.

She said: "The interest last year was considerable and Warwickshire's attributes as a cycling destination were highlighted by the national press and in the leading road cycling magazine.

"We would certainly encourage businesses to target cycle groups. Often it is as simple as offering or promoting facilities such as safe storage for bikes and suggesting routes and café stops."

Pictured: Jonathan Browning, chair of the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership.

Last updated on 27/08/2019

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