Groups rally to give Tour warm welcome

Mark Cavendish riding in Stage 2 of the Aviva Tour of Britain. (s)
Mark Cavendish riding in Stage 2 of the Aviva Tour of Britain. (s)

The Dales is gearing up to welcome the Tour of Britain after Derbyshire Dales District Council made grants available to urge local communities to get involved.

Friday’s event will see Hathersage Fat Boys running club providing car parking and stewarding for spectators, while the parish council is lining the village with Union Flags.

The Tour of Britain during a previous visit to Hathersage.

The Tour of Britain during a previous visit to Hathersage.

Heart for Hathersage is also decorating the village centre with bunting and plants to add even more colour.

In Bakewell, the Peak District National Park Authority will be adorning the town with banners, and Bakewell Town Council will be adding to the festive feel by distributing hand flags. Derbyshire Dales District Council is staging its own event in Matlock’s Hall Leys Park.

Get ready for the race with festivities starting from 1130 until 3.30pm, with hundreds of local children taking part in fun activities including a cycling themed orienteering challenge, balance bike sessions and a Smoothie Bike.

Grindleford Playing Fields Association are providing off-road parking to residents and visitors and Grindleford Community Shop will be displaying a large ‘Grindleford Welcomes the Tour of Britain’ banner and encouraging spectators to stay and take part in their own cycle festival.

The peloton is in the Dales for well over two hours from around 12.20pm as Stage 6 of the prestigious event makes its way from Stoke to Nottingham.

Friday’s event features three ‘King of the Mountains’ sections - all in the Dales, starting in Hathersage. Grindleford, Stoney Middleton, Wardlow, Ashford in the Water, Bakewell, Pilsley and Chatsworth will all get a great view of a race featuring some of the world’s top riders.

Celebrating Cromford’s resident dragon will be on a bike at the side of the cycling challenge that is Cromford Hill - and bunting will be out to welcome the UK’s biggest professional cycle race, while in Middleton by Wirksworth the local mountain bike group have been busy painting bikes to decorate the route and plan to line the roadside wearing yellow t-shirts.

District Council leader, councillor Lewis Rose OBE said: “Back in July, we invited local community groups, businesses, individuals and parish and town councils to suggest cycle-themed ideas to ensure this prestigious Tour receives a massive welcome from the Derbyshire Dales.

“The overhead camera shots of television coverage can have a remarkable impact on viewers, and we have every reason to expect a visitor boost when people see one of the most beautiful areas of the UK - which the Derbyshire Dales undoubtedly is - captured at its best, especially on a glorious day, which is what the forecasters are predicting.”