THE exciting Tour of Britain is set to return to Surrey’s streets next year after massive crowds helped make the 2012 edition a roaring success.
Surrey County Council wasted little time declaring their interest in becoming a host county for next year’s edition, and have already signed up with Weybridge-based organiser SweetSpot to host a stage of
Britain’s biggest professional bike race for the second successive year in September.
Around 200,000 people were estimated to have lined the roads between Reigate and Guildford to cheer Team Sky star Mark Cavendish to glory in the tour’s final stage.
In Old Woking, Send and Mayford, locals caught sight of some of the world’s most elite tearing through the borough.
Perched on a wall near his home off Send Barns Lane, Mike Kirkwood said the tour had been the cherry on top of a very special few months of British sport.
He said: “We’ve been so lucky this year – it’s hard to see how any year will ever top 2012.
“As a country we’ve been able to indulge in an absolute feast of sport and to have the world’s best riders whizz past just a few yards from my house is simply amazing.
“The whole country can say they’ve shared the Tour of Britain experience.
“And to have Mark Cavendish cycle through your little village really is special.”
Huge crowds camped at the top of Guildford High Street to watch the Manx Missile clinch victory, creating scenes reminiscent of this summer’s unbelievable Olympic events.
The tour was eventually won by Endura Racing’s Jonathan Tiernan-Locke – the first home winner of the race since 1989.
Surrey County Council’s cabinet member for community services and the 2012 Games, Helyn Clack, put the success of the tour down to organisations across the county and praised the close working relationship of local
councils and the police.
She said: “Watching the riders gunning for glory through Surrey was spectacular, so we’re delighted to welcome the Tour of Britain back next year and further cement our reputation as a world-class place to ride.
“We brought the tour here because it will boost the economy by as much as £2.5million and build on the cycling fever sweeping the country following the Olympic success in Surrey.
“We’ve seen massive crowds showing real passion for their heroes.
People have been absolutely fantastic and it’s thanks to everyone’s efforts that disruption was kept to a minimum.”
The council also added that bringing the tour back to Surrey would “help feed the nation’s new-found enthusiasm for cycling”.
Mrs Clack added: “Now we’re looking forward to doing it again next year to inspire even more people to try out the sport.”