Two of world cycling’s biggest names will be competing in the Tour of Britain when it passes through North Devon less than three weeks time.
Tour de France winners Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome will ride for Team Sky in Britain’s biggest professional cycle race.
Thomas comes to the tour off the back of winning the Tour de France in July. Froome – a four time winner of the Grand Tour – finished third.
Froome and Thomas will join 14-time Tour de France stage winner Marcel Kittel, who was confirmed for Team Katusha Alpecin, along with former Tour of Britain race-leader Alex Dowsett.
The tour will be passing through North Devon on Monday, September 3.
The 174km (108mile) stage is the second of eight on this year’s tour, and after starting in Cranbrook in East Devon and passing through Tiverton, more than 100kms is set in North Devon.
Riders will pass through Witheridge, South Molton – which includes a tour-first indoor section, Filleigh, Swimbridge and Landkey before heading into Barnstaple. From there they will go through Bratton Fleming, Combe Martin, Ilfracombe, Woolacombe, Georgeham, Croyde and Braunton before racing back to finish on The Strand in Barnstaple.
Councillor Dick Jones, North Devon Council’s executive member for parks, leisure and culture, said: “This is wonderful news for the Tour of Britain and North Devon that this year’s winner of the Tour de France, Geraint Thomas and previous winner Chris Froome will be taking part and racing through the district.
“It’s a great opportunity for our residents to see some real sports stars in action and hopefully become inspired to get out there and enjoy the area by bike.”
Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council’s cabinet member for highways, said: “It’s fantastic news that this Tour of Britain will see the biggest names in cycling like Froome and Thomas compete.
“The fact that the Tour regularly attracts the biggest names in world cycling demonstrates the global stature of the competition.
“I’m sure everyone will be delighted to welcome Chris and Geraint to Devon. With both of them racing through our county we can expect plenty of visitors and an excellent turnout right across Devon again – which is great news for the local economy.”