North Devon welcomed the Tour of Britain with open arms this afternoon (Monday) as riders battled it out across the district.

Spectators lined Constitution Hill as the Devon Stage of this year�s Tour of Britain headed out of Barnstaple through Forches. Picture: Andy KeebleSpectators lined Constitution Hill as the Devon Stage of this year�s Tour of Britain headed out of Barnstaple through Forches. Picture: Andy Keeble

Thousands of people came out to line the streets as riders, including Tour de France heroes Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas, sped through the streets of many of the district’s communities.

Mitchelton-Scott’s Cameron Meyer was the winner of the stage, which finished in Barnstaple after taking in swathes of North Devon.

The Australian was part of a breakaway that left the main group in the opening 15 kilometres.

After starting in Cranbrook in East Devon, riders made their way into North Devon through Nomansland and Witheridge.

Finishers cross the line at Barnstaple at the end of the Devon stage of the Ovo Energy Tour of Britain 2018. Picture: Matt SmartFinishers cross the line at Barnstaple at the end of the Devon stage of the Ovo Energy Tour of Britain 2018. Picture: Matt Smart

A raucous reception greeted the breakaway group of six as it made its way into South Molton with Team Madison Gensis’ Erick Rowsell leading the front runners into the town’s Pannier Market to make tour history.

Wiggins’ Matthew Teggart was the first to race through the sprint at Landkey before the breakaway group were greeted by large crowds along Newport Road and Victoria Road before heading up Constitution Hill.

Team Dimension Data’s Scott Davies had the best of North Devon’s brutal climbs at Bratton Fleming and Challacombe Hill, with riders battling the elements through Combe Martin, Ilfracombe and Woolacombe in between.

But it was Meyer who was the strongest as the riders headed back to Barnstaple, crossing the line after 4hrs, 14mins and 46secs.

Spectators lined Constitution Hill as the Devon Stage of this year�s Tour of Britain headed out of Barnstaple through Forches. Picture: Andy KeebleSpectators lined Constitution Hill as the Devon Stage of this year�s Tour of Britain headed out of Barnstaple through Forches. Picture: Andy Keeble

In Ilfracombe, the tour passed by a giant bicycle put together by plastic free campaigners.

Mayor of Barnstaple, Ian Roome, said: “Absolutely fantastic day for Barnstaple, bringing crowds in from all over Devon and beyond. It’s put Barnstaple on the map.

“I think we need to do this again in Barnstaple, it was absolutely phenomenal to see the crowds out and people having fun.

“What an atmosphere along the Strand, with the crowds banging the boards and cheering the cyclists on. I’m sure all those riders that took part thought, ‘well Barnstaple is a welcoming place’.”

Team Madison Gensis' Erick Rowsell leads the front runners in South Molton Pannier Market during stage two of the Ovo Energy Tour of Britain 2018 from Cranbrook to Barnstaple. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday September 3, 2018. See PA story CYCLING Tour of Britain. Photo credit should read: David Davies/PA WireTeam Madison Gensis' Erick Rowsell leads the front runners in South Molton Pannier Market during stage two of the Ovo Energy Tour of Britain 2018 from Cranbrook to Barnstaple. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday September 3, 2018. See PA story CYCLING Tour of Britain. Photo credit should read: David Davies/PA Wire

Movistar Team's Ruben Fernandez (left) and the peloton in the South Molton Pannier Market during stage two of the Ovo Energy Tour of Britain 2018 from Cranbrook to Barnstaple. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday September 3, 2018. See PA story CYCLING Tour of Britain. Photo credit should read: David Davies/PA WireMovistar Team's Ruben Fernandez (left) and the peloton in the South Molton Pannier Market during stage two of the Ovo Energy Tour of Britain 2018 from Cranbrook to Barnstaple. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday September 3, 2018. See PA story CYCLING Tour of Britain. Photo credit should read: David Davies/PA Wire

Team Madison Genesis' Erick Rowsell (left) leads the front runners in South Molton Pannier Market during stage two of the Ovo Energy Tour of Britain 2018 from Cranbrook to Barnstaple. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday September 3, 2018. See PA story CYCLING Tour of Britain. Photo credit should read: David Davies/PA WireTeam Madison Genesis' Erick Rowsell (left) leads the front runners in South Molton Pannier Market during stage two of the Ovo Energy Tour of Britain 2018 from Cranbrook to Barnstaple. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday September 3, 2018. See PA story CYCLING Tour of Britain. Photo credit should read: David Davies/PA Wire

Tour of Britain Devon Stage winner Cameron Meyer crosses the finish line in Barnstaple. Picture: Upright PRTour of Britain Devon Stage winner Cameron Meyer crosses the finish line in Barnstaple. Picture: Upright PR

The Devon Stage of this year�s Tour of Britain races through Combe Martin. Picture: Tony GussinThe Devon Stage of this year�s Tour of Britain races through Combe Martin. Picture: Tony Gussin

The Devon Stage of this year�s Tour of Britain races through Combe Martin. Picture: Tony GussinThe Devon Stage of this year�s Tour of Britain races through Combe Martin. Picture: Tony Gussin

Cyclists exit South Molton Pannier Market in a historic first for the Tour of Britain. Picture: Trevor BrayleyCyclists exit South Molton Pannier Market in a historic first for the Tour of Britain. Picture: Trevor Brayley

Cyclists exit South Molton Pannier Market in a historic first for the Tour of Britain. Picture: Trevor BrayleyCyclists exit South Molton Pannier Market in a historic first for the Tour of Britain. Picture: Trevor Brayley

Mitchelton-Scott's Cameron Meyer crosses the finish line at Barnstaple to win the Devon stage of the Ovo Energy Tour of Britain 2018. Picture: Matt SmartMitchelton-Scott's Cameron Meyer crosses the finish line at Barnstaple to win the Devon stage of the Ovo Energy Tour of Britain 2018. Picture: Matt Smart

Team Sky's Wout Poels and Sunweb's Christopher Hamilton after finishing the Devon Stage of the Ovo Energy Tour of Britain. Picture: Matt SmartTeam Sky's Wout Poels and Sunweb's Christopher Hamilton after finishing the Devon Stage of the Ovo Energy Tour of Britain. Picture: Matt Smart

The second group of finishers race for the finish line at Barnstaple at the Devon Stage of the Ovo Energy Tour of Britain 2018. Picture: Matt SmartThe second group of finishers race for the finish line at Barnstaple at the Devon Stage of the Ovo Energy Tour of Britain 2018. Picture: Matt Smart

The third group crosses the finish line at Barnstaple at the end of the Devon stage of the Ovo Energy Tour of Britain 2018. Picture: Matt SmartThe third group crosses the finish line at Barnstaple at the end of the Devon stage of the Ovo Energy Tour of Britain 2018. Picture: Matt Smart

The second group crosses the finish line at Barnstaple at the end of the Devon stage of the Ovo Energy Tour of Britain 2018. Picture: Matt SmartThe second group crosses the finish line at Barnstaple at the end of the Devon stage of the Ovo Energy Tour of Britain 2018. Picture: Matt Smart

Scenes from the Tour of Britain in Barnstaple. Picture: Sarah HowellsScenes from the Tour of Britain in Barnstaple. Picture: Sarah Howells

Scenes from the Tour of Britain in Barnstaple. Picture: Sarah HowellsScenes from the Tour of Britain in Barnstaple. Picture: Sarah Howells

Scenes from the Tour of Britain in Barnstaple. Picture: Sarah HowellsScenes from the Tour of Britain in Barnstaple. Picture: Sarah Howells

Scenes from the Tour of Britain in Barnstaple. Picture: Sarah HowellsScenes from the Tour of Britain in Barnstaple. Picture: Sarah Howells

Chris Froome poses for photos in Barnstaple after the Devon stage of the Ovo Energy Tour of Britain 2018. Picture: Matt SmartChris Froome poses for photos in Barnstaple after the Devon stage of the Ovo Energy Tour of Britain 2018. Picture: Matt Smart

Geraint Thomas signs autographs in Barnstaple after the Devon stage of the Ovo Energy Tour of Britain 2018. Picture: Matt SmartGeraint Thomas signs autographs in Barnstaple after the Devon stage of the Ovo Energy Tour of Britain 2018. Picture: Matt Smart

Scenes from the Tour of Britain in Barnstaple. Picture: Sarah HowellsScenes from the Tour of Britain in Barnstaple. Picture: Sarah Howells

Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas emerges from the Team Sky bus after the Devon stage of the Ovo Energy Tour of Britain 2018. Picture: Matt SmartTour de France winner Geraint Thomas emerges from the Team Sky bus after the Devon stage of the Ovo Energy Tour of Britain 2018. Picture: Matt Smart

Finishers cross the line at Barnstaple at the end of the Devon stage of the Ovo Energy Tour of Britain 2018. Picture: Matt SmartFinishers cross the line at Barnstaple at the end of the Devon stage of the Ovo Energy Tour of Britain 2018. Picture: Matt Smart

The first group crosses the finish line at Barnstaple at the end of the Devon stage of the Ovo Energy Tour of Britain 2018. Picture: Matt SmartThe first group crosses the finish line at Barnstaple at the end of the Devon stage of the Ovo Energy Tour of Britain 2018. Picture: Matt Smart

Cyclists head up Victoria Road as the Tour of Britain passes through Barnstaple. Picture: Simon ElleryCyclists head up Victoria Road as the Tour of Britain passes through Barnstaple. Picture: Simon Ellery

The Tour of Britain coming up the hill from Combe Martin towards Berrynarbor. Picture: Stephen GussinThe Tour of Britain coming up the hill from Combe Martin towards Berrynarbor. Picture: Stephen Gussin

Bike skills on show at the Devon Stage finish of the Tour of Britain in Barnstaple. Picture: Graham HobbsBike skills on show at the Devon Stage finish of the Tour of Britain in Barnstaple. Picture: Graham Hobbs

Cyclists round the corner at Rolle Quay onto North Walk and prepare for a sprint finish on the Strand in Barnstaple. Picture: Graham HobbsCyclists round the corner at Rolle Quay onto North Walk and prepare for a sprint finish on the Strand in Barnstaple. Picture: Graham Hobbs

Having fun on two wheels in Barnstaple at the Devon Stage finish of the Tour of Britain. Picture: Graham HobbsHaving fun on two wheels in Barnstaple at the Devon Stage finish of the Tour of Britain. Picture: Graham Hobbs

The Tour of Britain coming up the hill from Combe Martin towards Berrynarbor. Picture: Stephen GussinThe Tour of Britain coming up the hill from Combe Martin towards Berrynarbor. Picture: Stephen Gussin

The Tour of Britain coming up the hill from Combe Martin towards Berrynarbor. Picture: Stephen GussinThe Tour of Britain coming up the hill from Combe Martin towards Berrynarbor. Picture: Stephen Gussin

The Tour of Britain passing through Combe Martin. Picture: Ian Pollock.The Tour of Britain passing through Combe Martin. Picture: Ian Pollock.