North Devon is getting set to go cycle crazy when the second Tour of Britain stage finishes in Barnstaple this autumn.

Tour of Britain 2012 BarnstapleTour of Britain 2012 Barnstaple

Stage two of the race sets off from Cranbrook in East Devon on Monday, September 3, to finish on The Strand in Barnstaple later in the day.

When the UK’s largest cycle race had a stage start in the town in 2012 it brought out big crowds.

A stage finish in Bideford in 2009 saw thousands line the quay to cheer some of the world’s best cyclists across the finish line.

It is the first time in six years the race has returned to North Devon and Devon County Council is offering the chance to win VIP hospitality tickets at its Devon County Show stand this Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Racers mingle at the start of Tour of Britain 2012 in BarnstapleRacers mingle at the start of Tour of Britain 2012 in Barnstaple

Each stage has brought around £4million to the Devon economy and North Devon is already lining up to welcome the top cycle race with open arms after an absence of six years.

The Mayor of Barnstaple, Julie Hunt, said: “Barnstaple is really looking forward to welcoming back the Tour of Britain and the world’s top cycling teams.

“In 2012, we held a stage start and it was fantastic event, this year we are holding the stage finish.

“The race will not only be a great spectacle it will provide a welcome boost to the local economy, and who knows, it may even inspire some young cycling champions of the future.”

Tour of Britain cyclists sign autographs at Barnstaple 2012Tour of Britain cyclists sign autographs at Barnstaple 2012

It is not yet known who will be taking part in the race, but previous entrants have included Mark Cavendish, while Bradley Wiggins was scheduled to take part the last time the Tour visited North Devon in 2012, but had to withdraw due to illness.

The stage starts at Cranbrook in East Devon and will be hosted by Devon County Council, supported by North Devon Council (NDC) and East Devon District Council and working with Barnstaple Town Council and Cranbrook Town Council.

NDC’s lead member for health and wellbeing, Councillor Dick Jones said: “The start we hosted in 2012 was a great success, but staging a finish should be even more exciting.

“To have live coverage of the event broadcast to an international TV audience is a great advert for our beautiful local area and should encourage huge numbers of people to get out there on their bikes.”

Barnstaple's start for the Tour of Britain stage in 2012 saw a host of cycling related activities and characters on the dayBarnstaple's start for the Tour of Britain stage in 2012 saw a host of cycling related activities and characters on the day

Brian Greenslade, county councillor for Barnstaple North said: “This is really great news for Barnstaple and North Devon and a shot in the arm for the hard pressed Barnstaple town centre traders.

“Thank you to the team at Devon County Council for what they have done to make this happen again.”

Councillor Stuart Hughes, DCC cabinet member for highways, added: “The last two Devon stages were unforgettable occasions. Record breaking crowds turned out across the county and boosted the local economy by almost £11m.

“Now it returns to Devon after a year’s break. Organisers were so impressed with the atmosphere and organisation of the previous Devon stages they didn’t hesitate in wanting to return.”

Tour of Britain 2012 BarnstapleTour of Britain 2012 Barnstaple

For your chance to win a pair of VIP hospitality tickets to the Tour of Britain Devon stage, visit the Devon County Council stand at Devon County Show from Thursday to Saturday this week.