Two TV channels to beam Devon to global audience

Tour of Britain - Dartmouth 2012Tour of Britain – Dartmouth 2012

Posted on: 19 August 2016

In just three weeks time a TV global audience of millions will tune in to see Devon at its best when the Tour of Britain returns to the county.

In what will be a worldwide showcase for the county on September 9, viewers will be able to watch three hours of live coverage of the Devon Stage of the Tour of Britain.

This year both ITV4 and the BIKE Channel UK will show the race live, while ITV4 will also air a one-hour highlights programme each day.

ITV4’s coverage will be fronted by Matt Barbet and former World Track Champion Rob Hayles, with four-time World Champion Hugh Porter MBE and double British Champion Brian Smith commentating for the live coverage and highlights.

Devon has so far featured in the Tour of Britain more times than any other venue outside of London.

The 2016 edition of Britain’s most prestigious cycle race will be the ninth time that the Tour has ventured into the county,  and will revisit some of its most popular locations from previous Tours.

The race returns to Dartmoor for the sixth time in seven years.  Haytor cemented its place in the history of The Tour when in 2013 it became the first summit finish in the modern era of the race. That summit finish will be repeated this September in what will be this year’s only summit finish.

Stage Six of this year’s Tour of Britain is being hosted by Devon County Council and partners East Devon District Council, Teignbridge District Council, Dartmoor National Park and Sidmouth Town Council,

The stage starts in Sidmouth and ends in Haytor, taking in communities including Ottery St Mary, Honiton, Willand, Tiverton, Crediton, Moretonhampstead, Chudleigh and Bovey Tracey.

Crediton has witnessed some of the fastest racing on the Devon Stages having featured as the location of sprints in 2009, 2011 and 2014  – just as it will again this year.

This year 20 teams will contest the Tour of Britain, including 10 of the sport’s top tier UCI WorldTour teams who rode in the Tour de France this summer, plus the a Great Britain national team.

And it could include several Rio Olympians with both the teams of Mark Cavendish and Sir Bradley Wiggins confirmed.

Sir Bradley has already publically stated that he intends to ride the Tour of Britain, which could be his penultimate competitive race.

Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member with

Councillor Stuart Hughes

Cllr Stuart Hughes

responsibility for cycling, said: “The Tour is a great occasion for all of the communities it passes through, and people in Devon always embrace this colourful spectacle. We have seen the popularity of cycling in Devon grow ever since the county first featured in the race and we’re delighted that this year will see Devon playing a part. It’s a prestigious event and Devon provides the perfect backdrop for The Tour – and the race coverage highlights why Devon,  is a premier destination for cycling tourism.”

Councillor  Iain Chubb, East Devon District Council’s Portfolio holder for the Environment, said: “It’s going to be an extraordinary event particularly coming so soon after the Olympics where all eyes were on our skilled cyclists who struck gold so many times. We’re expecting thousands of people to come to Sidmouth to watch the start of the race and our officers have been working closely with Devon County Council for months now to ensure that it all goes without a hitch. Not only will the race be a great boost to our local economy, but East Devon is sure to get plenty of TV coverage both nationwide and globally too.”

Councillor George Gribble, Teignbridge District Council’s Deputy Leader and Executive Spokesman for Recreation and Leisure,  said: “There’s always a fantastic, international feel to the Tour of Britain and it’s great to see a rider from the South West lining up alongside riders from around the world. We look forward to welcoming all the riders, their teams and thousands of supporters to the Devon stage of the Tour next month.”

Andrew Watson, Head of Recreation & Access at Dartmoor National Park said “We are thrilled that the Tour of Britain is making a return to Haytor again this year as it provides us with such a fantastic opportunity to showcase Dartmoor and is a real boost for tourism and the local economy.  We are anticipating large numbers of spectators will want to experience the only summit finish of this year’s Tour and we are advising that people plan their journey to get here in good time.  There will be plenty to see and do during the build up to the arrival of the race with a promo zone and children’s hill climb challenge during the morning.”

After starting in Glasgow on 4 September, the 1,296.6km route passes through the Lake District, Wales and Dartmoor, before finishing on Regent Street in central London on Sunday 11 September. The route promises to test riders’ limits and BIKE, the UK’s only 24-hour cycling channel, will be there for every pedal stroke as this iconic event unfolds, with three hours of live coverage from every stage.

The Tour of Britain is the cornerstone of the British cycling calendar, and the UK’s largest free-to-watch sporting event, attracting more than one million spectators. This year’s Tour is the biggest in its history, and the event continues to grow with cycling popularity nationwide.

Filippo Ubaldini, Founder and CEO of BIKE Channel, said: “The Tour of Britain is one of the most important tours on the calendar and we are delighted to bring it to BIKE this summer. We are sure fans will love following our dedicated coverage of eight days of racing through stunning British countryside before what promises to be an exciting sprint finish in London.”

Mick Bennett, Race Director of the Tour of Britain, said: “With 10 WorldTour teams riding in this year’s Tour of Britain, the race is now the biggest it’s ever been. BIKE’s coverage – available in over 17 million households in the UK – will bring the Tour of Britain to new audiences and is key to the continued growth of the country’s national Tour.”

Fans can follow all the LIVE action from this summer’s Tour of Britain from the comfort of their own home with BIKE, available on Sky channel 464, Virgin Media channel 552 and Freesat channel 251.

Follow Tour of Britain on social media. Twitter: #ToB2016, @SWTourofBritain, @TourofBritain, http://twitter.com/SWTourofBritain

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