THE MAYOR of Worcester has said he would like to see the Tour of Britain come to the city annually after describing the event as fantastic.
More than a hundred of the world’s top cyclists and thousands of people descended on The Hive yesterday (Wednesday) for the start of the fourth stage of the UK’s biggest cycling competition.
Olympic gold medallist Bradley Wiggins and sprint star Mark Cavandish drew enthusiasts from all corners of the country so they could get a glimpse of their idols before the 114 mile route from Worcester to Bristol.
Once the 120 riders set off from the city centre at 10.45am they wound their way through The Butts, down City Walls Road and Deansway, over Worcester Bridge and into St John’s before passing through neighbouring Pershore, Evesham and Broadway.
Coun Alan Amos, who attended the event with a number of other dignitaries, said he was delighted with how the day had gone and did not want another six year gap before it returned.
“I feel this very strongly, that Worcester needs to make this an annual event,” he said.
“Worcester needs to be on the circuit, not as a one off but permanently so everyone knows this is a regular part of the city’s calendar.
“We’ve got all the facilities, all the volunteer groups, the history and everything to be a first class tourist city and this adds to it.
“This shows we can host an event like this and we can do it extremely well.
“Everything’s gone off smoothly, there are no hassles and lovely organisation, it’s fantastic. Let’s hope we get it next year and the year after.”
People of all ages came along to cheer on the competitors including a number of schoolchildren.
Perry Wood Primary School brought more than a hundred excited pupils who added to the atmosphere by beating inflatable drum sticks.
Sam Charles, Key Stage Two phase leader, said: “It is part of our school vision to give children opportunities to experience real-life events.
“They can obviously watch it on TV and see it in the news but to actually experience it first hand will show they can go out and do things. It gives them something to aspire to.
“It also follows the schools’ ethos, which is about working hard and being part of a team.”
Vincent Kelleher, who travelled from Droitwich Spa with his partner Nickie Stone to see the riders set off from The Hive, said the race would encourage more people to cycle.
“It is fantastic for the city to stage a national event like this,” he said. “As Worcester is very congested, it will hopefully make people say to themselves, ‘I’ll use a bike instead of a car’.
“Hopefully more people will get their bike out, dust it down and give it a go.”
Martin Lewis, 39, of Barbourne, said: “It’s been a fabulous day and with The Hive in the background you could not get a better setting.
“To have this event in Worcester for a third time is just incredible as I am sure there are not many cities in the UK which have managed that, especially when you are competing against the likes of Birmingham, London and Manchester.”
Stuart Summers, 36, owner of Worcester Cycle Centre on College Street, said: “This event has been great for us and it will hopefully get more people out on their bikes. We have had a lot of old and young customers, which is great to see.
“Over the last five years, interest in road cycling has been growing quite steadily and we have got some great riders at the moment, like Mark Cavandish and Bradley Wiggins, which has helped.”
Pictures by Alex Bradbury