The Tour de force

21 Sep 2023 12:46
Published by: Scott Callan

THOUSANDS of people were set to flock to Altrincham to see the start of the UK’s most prestigious cycling race.
The Tour of Britain’s ‘‘Grand Départ’ was being staged in the town as The Independent went to print.
It is the first time Greater Manchester has hosted the start of the race since the inaugural edition of the modern tour in 2004.
The curtain-raiser was also the second time that Altrincham has welcomed the Tour of Britain, having previously hosted the start on the final day of the top race in 2019.
The peloton, which will include some of the biggest names in the sport, will roll out from Market Street, close to Altrincham market, which race organisers describe as the heart of the town’s re-invention as ‘the’ modern market town. The return of the race to the town has been welcomed by business leaders and politicians.
Since 2016, the race has been watched by an average of 1.3million roadside spectators and has generated £27.6m of yearly net economic benefit for the UK economy.
Mandy White, manager of Altrincham Business Improvement District (BID), said: “ “It’s fantastic for the town to host such a high-profile international sporting event and we look forward to welcoming thousands of visitors to Altrincham.” Mick Bennett, Tour of Britain race director, said: “Altrincham hosted one of the greatest stage starts in tour of Britain history back in 2019, so returning to this brilliant town on the opening day of this year’s race made perfect sense.”
Since its return in 2004, the Tour of Britain has become a cornerstone of the UK sporting calendar. Tom Ross, leader of Trafford Council, said: “Last time, thousands of people came to cheer on the cyclists and enjoy the delights of our award-winning market town and I’m confident even more people will want to come and experience the opening of this illustrious event.”

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