�6m Tour of Britain windfall for local economy

THIS year's Tour of Britain cycle race generated almost �6million for the South West economy, with almost a quarter of a million people turning out to see the two stages in the region, according to Devon and Somerset County Councils. An independent survey

THIS year's Tour of Britain cycle race generated almost �6million for the South West economy, with almost a quarter of a million people turning out to see the two stages in the region, according to Devon and Somerset County Councils.

An independent survey carried out by consultation company Ekosgen has estimated that an additional �5.8 million was spent in Devon and Somerset over the two days that Britain's top cycle race was in the region.

More than 230,000 spectators lined the roads of the two stages from Frome to Bideford and Hatherleigh to Yeovil to watch September's event. Thousands of children from schools along the route were among those who turned out after receiving visits from the South West Bike Academy, who gave a presentation about the benefits of cycling to approximately 10,000 pupils in the weeks leading up to the race.

Spectators in Bideford saw Norwegian Edvald Boasson Hagen of Team Columbia-HTC take his fourth stage win of the Tour on his way to eventually winning the overall Yellow Jersey. And Yeovil cheered home the first British stage winner since 2007 as Ben Swift of Team Katusha took his first professional victory.

Councillor William Mumford, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Economic Regeneration and Strategic Planning, said: "Devon and Somerset can feel proud to have hosted some of the most spectacular racing of this year's Tour.

"To hear that more than 230,000 spectators lined the route shows the enthusiasm for the event here in the region. These incredible figures are great news for the local economy and it shows the advantage of the two authorities working together.

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"I'm sure visitors who came to watch the race in the area will have seen what the region has to offer and hopefully they will return again next year."

Cllr Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Highways and Transportation, added: "The crowds at both south west stages in Devon and Somerset were incredible and it gave the race a really special atmosphere. I think the amount of spectators and the money generated by hosting the Tour clearly demonstrates there is a great deal of support for cycling in Devon.

"I'm sure we can continue to build on this success and put Devon on the map as a perfect destination for a cycling holiday."

To view the highlights of this year's Tour of Britain South West stages, visit www.youtube.com/SWTOB

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