Published: April 28, 2008
Excitement grows as route of Tour of Britain cycle race is unveiled

The route of the South West Stage of the Tour of Britain cycle race

The full route of the South West Stage of the Tour of Britain cycle race was officially annouced on Monday (April 28th), with Burnham-On-Sea set to be inundated by huge crowds at the finishing line. exclusively reported in February that our town would be picked as the final destination for the south west stages of the September 9th race - and further details were announced at Monday's press launch.

The 185km South West stage will be the longest in the whole race and will have a backdrop of stunning scenery as it takes riders past some of Somerset's hidden gems and idyllic Devon countryside. Click here for a large version of the route.

Setting off from Chard in the south of Somerset, the riders will pass through two Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, a National Park and then on to the first ever coastal finish in Burnham.

The twisting country lanes of the Blackdown Hills will provide the first 'King of the Mountains' challenge for the riders before they hit Tiverton in Devon and the picturesque villages of South and North Molton, where they will face their second 'King of the Mountains' trial.

Exmoor’s rugged terrain will test the riders as they speed through Withypool and revisit Exford and Wheddon Cross, which attracted thousands of spectators for last year's race.

The riders will then negotiate the narrow medieval streets of historic Dunster before passing through Williton, Bishops Lydeard and the Quantock Hills.

Heading on to the north of Somerset, the riders will then be on the home straight as they travel through the flatter parts of the county and through Bridgwater, before seeing the finish line at Marine Drive in Burnham-On-Sea.

This year, Somerset County Council has collaborated with Devon County Council, South Somerset District Council and the Exmoor National Park Authority to bring the Tour of Britain to the region.

The stage is also being supported by the South West of England Regional Development Agency.

For the first time in 2008, the Tour of Britain will have daily coverage on ITV4, and during the race itself you’ll be able to track the race in real-time online.

Cllr Jill Shortland, Leader of Somerset County Council, said at Monday's unveiling of the route: "The Tour of Britain took Somerset by storm in 2007. This year’s route takes in even more of the region and promises to be a spectacular event. We are working with our supporting partners to make sure that as many local schools and members of the community as possible get involved and enjoy the festivities. Last year, Somerset benefited to the tune of £500,000 in additional visitor spend within the county on the race day alone and we hope that local businesses will welcome the event and help us in making sure it is a success again."

Guy Lavender, South West England Director for the 2012 Games, added: "We are delighted that the South West stage of the Tour of Britain is not only returning to Somerset this year, but will incorporate North Devon and the first ever coastal stage finish. The event will be an economic boost to the region, and an opportunity to showcase the South West’s natural assets and ability to manage major sporting competitions. This event contributes significantly to our 2012 Games legacy objectives for the region, particularly in sports participation, community engagement and skills."

Graham Jones, Route Director of the Tour of Britain, said: "In 2007 the South West stage of the Tour of Britain proved to be a decisive moment in the race and whilst it didn't decide the overall winner it certainly put an end to the aspirations of a large proportion of the field. I think that our visit to the South West on 9th September could have a similar effect. There are three classified King of the Mountains climbs, the first after only a handful of miles, and that sets the tone for the day. With 30km from the summit of the last climb to the finish there may be an opportunity for a small regrouping, but for many riders it may be too late to salvage their hopes of winning the 2008 Tour of Britain."


Large image showing full route of the cycle race [PDF Document]
It's official! Burnham is confirmed as the finish line for top cycle race
Exclusive: Burnham set to host Tour of Britain Cycle Race


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