Tour of Britain returns to Stoke-on-Trent

The Tour of Britain is to return to Stoke-on-Trent for the 5th successive year.

The city will host stage 5 of the event, starting from Trentham Gardens and finishing once again in the City Centre, on the way tackling Cannock Chase, the Staffordshire Moorlands and Gun Hill. Riders will have to climb over 2000 meters on this stage in what is being billed as the toughest tour to date by organisers.

The riders will have completed a 156 kilometre ride from Carlisle to Blackpool before they arrive in Stoke-on-Trent on Thursday 13 September. Continue reading

Stoke-on-Trent Tour stage sets TV viewing figures record

The Stoke-on-Trent stage of the 2011 Tour of Britain was easily the biggest hit with television viewers, recent audience figures have revealed.
Close to three quarters of a million people tuned in to ITV 4 to watch the hour-long highlights package of the 80 mile stage which began at Trentham Gardens and finished outside the Town Hall in the city centre.
The viewing figures were split over two days, with the initial programme shown on the night of the event on Tuesday September 13, with a repeat showing the following morning.
A record 592,000 watched Lars Boom power to victory up the hill on Albion Street, just hours after the event finished in the Stoke-on-Trent sunshine. A further 127,000 saw the repeat on Wednesday.
The closest stage to Stoke-on-Trent was Stage 4, when 649,000 tuned in over the two days to see the Welshpool to Caerphilly race.
The figures represent a record for the four-year period the event has been shown on ITV4 and was 250,000 more than watched the televised Stoke-on-Trent stage last year.
Organisers are delighted with the statistics, released by the Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board, which indicate the UK’s growing fascination with cycling.

The figures all over the country were vastly up on last year, with Stoke-on-Trent breaking records. Nearly three quarters of a million is on a par with ITV4’s Tour De France figures. It is great news for everyone and shows that the event and the sport is growing rapidly in popularity.

This year’s event was the fourth time the Tour of Britain has come to Stoke-on-Trent, with more and more local people coming out to watch each year.
In September Mark Cavendish took part in the race, using it as a warm-up event for the World Championships a week later ““ which he duly won.
Since then Cavendish, a favourite for Olympic Gold next July in London, has joined Team Sky which increases the chances of the 20-time Tour De France Stage winner taking part in his home tour each year.
Initial reports suggest that the Tour resulted in a net economic impact of over £3.5 million for the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire region, with further results expected next week.
In further good news, the city council Event’s Team has won recognition after being awarded a runner’s up place in a competition run by sponsors Halfords for the Tour Series Event back in June.
The award was based on the supporting events, promotion and effort. Stoke-on-Trent were judged second out of eight venues which will result in a number of prizes for the council. 
Stoke-on-Trent engaged local schools and community cycling groups for the day’s activities with a great response. The team at Stoke-on-Trent also worked well during the planning process, making sure everyone was up-to-date with their plans and also open to suggestions and developments.

The city council’s Events Team were beaten into second place by Colchester, but were granted runner’s up ahead of other race hosts’ such as Oldham, Exeter and London. They will receive a certificate, a trophy and a framed winners’ jersey.
All of this is really good news. This year’s cycle events have been better than ever. That so many people tuned into our stage shows how popular cycling is in this region and how good a job our team do in putting it on with partners. It is great to see Stoke-on-Trent setting records.
That our Events team has also been recognised for their excellent work is fantastic. London has a stage of the Tour of Britain and also a leg of the Tour Series and more people watched on TV to see our city’s Tour of Britain stage than they did for the one in the Capital and our leg of the Tour Series has been judged a better event than the one in Canary Wharf by sponsors’. This shows exactly what the city is capable of and is reward for everyone’s good work.

This is brilliant news. It is fantastic that so many people watched the Stoke-on-Trent stage on television ““ and a record too! It was a wonderful day, it is a fantastic event and let’s hope we can bring it back next year.

Tour Of Britain 2010 In Stoke-on-Trent

On Sunday Stage 2 of the prestigious Tour of Britain was held in Stoke-on-Trent. It began in Burslem and finished in Hanley with Team Sky’s Greg Henderson victorious.

The sun was out in Stoke-on-Trent on Sunday which was a relief for the riders and teams after the rain they experienced during the first Stage of the race which went from Rochdale to Blackpool.

The race, which helped to celebrate the centenary of Stoke-on-Trent, was started in Burslem by Port Vale players Adam Yates and Sean Rigg and Stoke-on-Trent Lord Mayor Denver Tolley. This brought thousands of people to Burslem which was brimming with activity and enthusiasm. From the Swan Bank Mission holding an outdoor sermon & games at 8 o’clock, to Danny Butler doing almost impossible feats on a mountain bike and Boomer the Port Vale mascot, there was something for everyone.

Most of the shops had opened for the event and according to the shop keepers they had their most profitable day ever and all crammed in before lunch!

The 100 mile stage was completed on Sunday in Hanley with Team Sky’s Greg Henderson achieving the coveted 1st place and Team HTC ““ Columbia’s Michael Albasini and Cervelo Test Team’s Heinrich Haussler, achieving 2nd and 3rd place respectively.

Henderson’s win was not always certain throughout the race. The competition was fierce and Henderson formed part of a high-quality front group which broke away from the peloton after around 10 km of the race. This group including the other two riders who placed in the top three: Albasini and Haussler, as well as Sprints Jersey holder Richie Porte, Welshman Rob Partridge, Vacansoleil duo Borut Bozic and Michal Golas and also importantly Henderson’s Sky teammates Bradley Wiggins and Geraint Thomas.

As the race headed towards Stoke-on-Trent, Team Sky began driving at the front, sensing the potential to set Henderson up for the win, so when Haussler (who eventually came 3rd) and Golas built up a 13 second lead close to Stoke-on-Trent, Henderson’s Sky teammates Wiggins and Thomas rode the duo down in order to leave the way clear for Henderson.

This then led to an exciting 13 rider sprint up the tough uphill finish to Hanley Town Hall. Henderson was victorious with a 14 second lead which secured him the yellow jersey as he enters the third stage of The Tour of Britain.

Stage 3 sees The Tour of Britain return to Wales for the first time since 2004, as The Tour races through mid-Wales from Newtown to Swansea, via the King of the Mountains climb of Black Mountain.

The Tour of Britain’s visit to Stoke-on-Trent, which included a tour of the 6 towns to celebrate Stoke-on-Trent’s centenary year, was wonderfully received and provided, not only a boost for the city’s traders, but also a great day out for cycling fans and spectators alike.

Pictures by Scott Sharman Photography

Tour of Britain

The Tour of Britain stage 2 starts in Burslem tomorrow morning.

There are lots of activities going on around the start line before the race, which will be started by Port Vale footballers Adam Yates and Tommy Fraser, with the help of two Saxon Warriors and Stoke-on-Trent Lord Mayor Councillor Denver Tolley.

There will be an open air cycling themed sermon by Rev Ashley Cooper, from Swan Bank Methodist church who will be taking the sermon while cycling on an exercise bike.

The Old Post Office art gallery, will be hosting an exhibition of cycling themed art called, ‘On Yer Bike.’

It is great that such a major event is coming through the city, starting in Burslem. It will bring a well needed boost to the area. Stoke-on-Trent has a fantastic selection of artists and this is a great opportunity to come and see their work and support a major event. It promises to be a great day and we hope that people come and make use of the galleries great event, refreshments and atmosphere.

All entries from a recent Cycle Stoke cycling-themed Art competition will also go on display in the Old Post Office, taking their place alongside the professional pieces.

The winners will see their work displayed in the hospitality areas and they will receive their prize of brand new bike at the finish podium in the afternoon.

Stoke-On-Trent’s very own 5 times national champion Danny Butler will be at the start line with his team of some of the worlds best riders to entertain the public with amazing stunts and tricks. They take their mountain biking skills to a whole new level and push the limits of what can be done on a bike.

There will be artists, side shows, local galleries open, cafes and pubs putting on special breakfasts – and the exciting build up to The Tour of Britain race.

Tour of Britain Road Closures

This Sunday sees the Tour of Britain return to the streets of Stoke-on-Trent for the third successive year. The tour will once again start and finish in the city.

To help celebrate the centenary of the federation of the 6 towns, the 100 mile tour stage will start at the Market Place in Burslem, and pass though Tunstall, Stoke, Longton, Fenton, aswell as some of Staffordshire’s most picturesque countryside before finishing outside the Town Hall in Hanley.

Because the tour is visiting each of the 6 towns during the day there will be extensive road closures. A traffic order has been put in place for the day and full details of the affected roads are:

Roads to be closed between 5am and 8pm
Albion Street – From Broad Street to Lichfield Street
Tontine Street – The whole
Old Hall Street – From Albion Square to Lichfield Street

Roads to be closed between 9am and 6pm
Broad Street – Potteries Way to Marsh Street South
Potteries Way – From Broad Street to Lichfield Street
Sceptre Street – The whole
Orb Street – The whole
Crown Street – The whole
Warner Street – From Broad Street for a distance of 30 metres in a southerly direction
Bethesda Street – From Albion Street to John Street
Derby Street – From Lichfield Street for a distance of 20 metres in a north-easterly direction
Lower Bethesda Street – From Potteries Way to Jasper Street
Bethesda Street – From Potteries Way to Ranelagh Street
Cannon Street – From Potteries Way for a distance of 10 metres in a north-easterly direction
Hinde Street – From Potteries Way for a distance of 50 metres in a south-westerly direction

Roads to be closed between 12.30pm and 3pm
Barlaston Road – The whole
Trentham Road – From Barlaston Road to The Strand
The Strand – The whole
Times Square – The whole
King Street – The whole
Victoria Place – The whole
Victoria Road – The whole
Lichfield Street – The whole
John Street – The whole
Bethesda Street – From John Street to Potteries Way

Roads to be closed between 9am and 11am
Scotia Road – From Wedgwood Place to Williamson Street
Williamson Street – The whole
Brownhills Road – The whole
Davenport Street – The whole
Newcastle Street – The whole
Woodbank Street – The whole
Baptist Street – The whole
Waterloo Road – From Baptist Street to Cobridge Road
Cobridge Road – From Waterloo Road to Etruria Road
Etruria Road – From Cobridge Road to Etruria Vale Road
Etruria Vale Road – The whole
Bedford Road – The whole
Howard Place – The whole

In previous years the tour has been well supported by the people of Stoke-on-Trent and this year even more people will be able to get involved and watch the race as is passes through the city, nobody in Stoke-on-Trent should need to travel more than a few miles to see the race.

The weather forecast for Sunday is relatively fine so why not come out and support the teams and riders.

If you are planning to go to watch the start of the race in Burslem there is free car parking at Port Vale.

The full estimated race times for the route are downloadable as a pdf document below.

Olympic Cyclist Comes To City For Tour Of Britain

Olympic gold medallist Bradley Wiggins will lead Team Sky at this year’s Tour of Britain stage through Stoke-on-Trent.

Team Sky has a six man roster that also contains top British riders Russell Downing, Steve Cummings and National Road Race Champion Geraint Thomas.

Fellow Olympian and National Circuit Race Champion Ed Clancy will lead the Motorpoint ““ Marshalls Pasta team that also contains current Great Britain track cyclist Andy Tennant and double Halfords Tour Series winner and reigning British Cyclo-Cross Champion Ian Bibby.

Bradley Wiggins arrives in Stoke with a fine pedigree, having won three medals on the track at the Athens 2004 Summer Olympics, and two gold medals at the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics. He came in fourth at the 2009 Tour de France.

”To welcome an athlete of Bradley’s calibre to the city fills me with pride. The Tour of Britain is a tremendous success every year it is held in the city, and it puts Stoke-on-Trent right up there with other cities when it comes to organising and hosting major events.

“We want people within the city to celebrate the importance of having such a huge event here and those who will travel here to see the Tour to want to come back and see more of our city.”

”We’re delighted to have Team Sky riding The Tour of Britain this year, particularly with such a strong line-up that shows they mean business for The Tour,”

The Tour of Britain is in Stoke-on-Trent for a third year running this September – with the start and finish of the West Midlands stage taking place in the city.

The race will form part of celebrations to mark the centenary of the six towns that make up Stoke-on-Trent. The route will be 100 miles long and will take in Burslem, Tunstall, Stoke, Longton, Fenton and Hanley, as well as some of Staffordshire’s most picturesque countryside.

The event takes place on 12 September, starting outside Ceramica in Burslem from 8:30, with an estimated finishing time of 2:30pm outside Hanley Town Hall in the city centre.

Three Tours To Come To Stoke-on-Trent In Anniversary Year

The UK’s biggest free sporting event is to return to Stoke-on-Trent this summer when the Tour of Britain comes back to the streets of the city.

The Tour will showcase some of the worlds best cyclists for the third successive time and it forms part of a summer of cycling in Stoke-on-Trent’s centenary year.

As well as The Tour of Britain, the Halfords Tour Series will take place in the city centre on the 17th June and then The Prostate Cancer Charity Tour Ride will see thousands of amateur cyclists taking to the region’s roads on the 26th September following the same route as the pros, two weeks after the Tour of Britain.

Plans and routes for all events will be announced at an official launch of the three Tour events at the Regent Theatre in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent on Monday 19 April.

Last year all three tours took place in the city, which saw tens of thousands of people come out in support and which collectively brought in an economic impact worth millions of pounds.

In 2010, the year of the 100th anniversary of the federation of the six towns of Stoke-on-Trent, there will be a special centenary theme to each event.

Hugh Roberts, Chief Executive of The Tour of Britain, added:

“We are delighted to be working alongside Stoke-on-Trent City Council to bring our cycling events to the city in its centenary year. The people of Stoke-on-Trent and the West Midlands have certainly taken The Tour of Britain to their hearts, and we enjoy an immensely productive relationship with our stakeholders in the city, who work tirelessly on our behalf to engage the community and local schools with these exciting, free to attend elite sporting events. We look forward greatly to another fantastic year of cycling in Stoke-on-Trent”.

Last year The Prostate Cancer Charity Tour Ride saw 1300 people of all ages and abilities take up the cycle challenge on three different routes and distances, and John Neate, CEO of The Prostate Cancer Charity said:

“We are delighted to be bringing The Prostate Cancer Charity Tour Ride back to Stoke-on-Trent this year. The inaugural Tour Ride in Stoke-on-Trent and the West Midlands in 2009 was hugely successful and we received extremely positive feedback from participants about the organisation of the day and the fact that they could take on a leg of the actual Tour of Britain for the first time.

“Following on from this success, we look forward to welcoming thousands of amateur cyclists of all abilities to take part in the Stoke-on-Trent event on the 26th September this year. Of course, everyone who takes part, as well as completing a personal challenge, will be helping the Charity to raise awareness of prostate cancer and helping us to raise funds to fight the disease, which kills one man every hour in the UK.

“There is a very clear connection between The Tour of Britain and our priorities here at The Prostate Cancer Charity, so this is a very exciting partnership for us. Cycling is obviously associated with health benefits and as a healthy lifestyle is central to minimising the risks of cancer, this key event in the cycling calendar very much ties in with the Charity’s aims. We look forward to working closely with Stoke-on-Trent city council in their centenary year to put on another very successful Tour Ride event”.

Actors John Pickard and Nicole Barber – stars of Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks – are taking part in the ride and will be at the Stoke-on-Trent launch on Monday.

John Pickard added:

“I am really excited about taking on The Prostate Cancer Charity’s Stoke Tour Ride. Last years event sounded like a lot of fun and it will be amazing to do something so challenging. My grandfather had prostate cancer and so I know more than most about the impact that the disease can have on a family. My character, Dom, would never take on an event like this but I am definitely geared up for it. The Tour Rides offer different distances for cyclists of all abilities and are all about getting people to Unite ByCycling. I would urge anyone who wants a fun and exciting challenge, to sign up today to take part.”

Last June the Tour Series took place in the city for the first time, with thousands of people coming out to watch the race in the city centre, with hundreds of thousands more watching the televised highlights on ITV.

This year the criterium returns and as well as the men’s Halfords Tour Series race, Stoke-on-Trent will be the venue for the only women’s race in the UK Series, when the Horizon Fitness Grand Prix takes place on the main circuit earlier in the afternoon.

Tour Series Technical Director Mick Bennett said:

“Last year’s inaugural Tour Series was a great success, and in fact the Stoke-on-Trent round saw the most exciting racing of all, with ten teams of professional riders giving their all in front of packed crowds in the city centre. This year we are proud to be working alongside Stoke-on-Trent city council to put on the Horizon Fitness Grand Prix – a professional women’s race – as part of the Halfords Tour Series, and alongside our partners at the City Council, we cannot wait for all the action to start!”.

Ian Van Arkadie, Head of Community Services for Stoke-on-Trent City Council, welcomed the events returning to the city.

He said:

“The city has developed an excellent working relationship with the Tour of Britain, the Tour Series and the Tour Ride.

“Cycling is amongst the fastest growing and most popular participation sports in the UK. The health and other benefits – including those to the environment – cannot be denied and as a Cycling City we are very committed to cycling in all its forms. To have all three events taking place in the city in the centenary year of Stoke-on-Trent is great news and we hope people all over the region embrace these events and play their part.

“These televised events provide the city with a great profile and enable people of all ages to take part and witness eevnts that provide social, health, environmental, sporting and economic impacts for the city and its people.”

To register for The Prostate Cancer Charity Tour Ride please visit www.tourride.couk.

The Tour Is Coming Back!

By Mike Rawlins

The Tour Of Britain is to revisit Stoke-on-Trent in 2009.

The City will host both the Start and Finish of the West Midlands Stage in September, with the riders facing a gruelling course around the Staffordshire countryside including the infamous Gun Hill. It is the first time the Tour has started and finished in the same city. Â  The race will start off from the Britannia Stadium and finish outside Hanley Town Hall making it the first time a Tour has ever started from a premier league football ground.

Debra Gratton

Debra Gratton

Councillor Debra Gratton, (pictured)  portfolio holder for sport and leisure, is delighted the race is coming back to the city.

She said: “We are really pleased that the West Midland stage of the Tour of Britain will start and finish in our city. This has never happened before and it is very exciting for the city and the whole region. Â Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚  Last year the event was a great success, with thousands of people lining the streets and a with a great finish in the city centre. The economic impact, the fell good factor and the way in which the race inspires local people and raises the profile of the city, are all important factors which we take into consideration when staging this race.

It is the biggest free sporting event in the UK and the fact we have a start and a finish in our city is brilliant news and we look forward to a fantastic day.  The race will be coming to the city on Wednesday 16 September, and a whole day of cycling activities and fun family events will take place throughout the city and the region, beginning at the Britannia in the morning.”

Tony Scholes, Chief Executive for Stoke City FC, said: “The Tour of Britain is an internationally recognised cycle race which has, among its riders, some of the country’s most famous Olympians. The football club is proud and delighted to host the start of the West Midlands stage and we have big plans for the day. Â  Being the first football club to have the race going through the stadium is an indication of our commitment to the local community and the region at large. Â The fact that the race will stay in the region throughout the day and finish outside the Town Hall in Hanley, the scene of last years famous finish, is wonderful news for the city.”

Mick Bennett, Tour of Britain Technical Director, said: “When we went to Stoke-on-Trent last year we enjoyed a fantastic finish and we were delighted with the partnership with the local council. Â  We have never had a start and a finish in the same city, on such a scale, before but we know Stoke-on-Trent and the people of the city and the region are very committed to cycling. Starting at Stoke City is another first and I cannot wait to see 96 riders cycling through a top class stadium.    The route itself is very demanding and takes in Gun Hill, which will really test the riders. We expect a wonderful day for the area and lets hope we get another finish like last year for the people of Stoke to enjoy.”

Pits ‘n’ Pots will be bringing you regular updates on the Tour over the coming months.