After an incredibly popular event last year, The Tour of Britain has announced it won’t be returning to Ribble Valley.
Thousands of people flocked to the streets of Longridge to watch some of the best cyclists in the world last September but the event’s list of venues for 2016 doesn’t include anywhere in Lancashire.
Stage 2 of the event began in Clitheroe before moving through Longridge on its way to Colne and county councillor for Longridge David Smith says he has no doubts it will return again.
“It was a one off, we didn’t expect it to come back this year,” he said. “However I know we will bid for it in future years because it was a huge success here. And I think if we do try we will stand a very good chance because the tour got one of the best receptions in the country here. I would compare it to the Tour de France in Yorkshire but obviously not quite the same scale. We had people lining every street the cyclists went on with flags, banners, t-shirts and it was a great atmosphere. It put Ribble Valley in the public eye which will help tourism for years to come as well as the businesses that it supported at the time of the event. I’m positive it will come back in future years because it was such a success.”
During the event last year, shops were decorated with everything from painted yellow bikes and flags to knitted patterns and banners as cycling fever officially took over east Lancashire.
Towns were painted and decorated yellow for the special event as it made its way through Ribble Valley and Pendle and many commented on the “old-fashioned community spirit” of the event.
The tour is organised annually by the SweetSpot Group and a spokesman said: “The Tour of Britain is a national event that has a limited capacity (8 days) and by its very nature needs to move around the country annually, visiting different towns, cities and regions and promoting the wide and varied landscapes and tourism attractions of Britain to the world. We enjoyed our visit to Ribble Valley, Pendle and Lancashire greatly in 2015 and the stage was a resounding success, attracting thousands of spectators to the roadside and providing a real test for the world’s best cyclists. We are sure we will be back in the future.”
The 2016 Tour of Britain will begin in Glasgow before going through Carlisle, Kendal, Knutsford, Denbigh, Bath, Dartmoor and Bristol before ending in London. The tour is the UK’s highest ranked professional stage race and the country’s largest free-to-watch sporting event.