Council in bid to host big bike race
CYCLE fans could be in for a treat if the council’s bid to host next year’s Tour of Britain is successful.
Cheshire East Council has agreed to put up £250,000 to host part of the Aviva Tour of Britain Cycle Race – Britain’s biggest professional bike race.
If successful, it could mean top class cyclists like Bradley Wiggins could be cruising through Macclesfield, with the potential to host the start or end of the race presenting an even bigger opportunity for the town. It is projected that the event, which sees cyclists ride around the country in eight stages, could generate up to £5m for the economy.
Council leader Michael Jones backed the bid at a cabinet meeting and said it would be a ‘fantastic way’ to market Cheshire as a tourist destination.
He said: “Not only that, it will hopefully inspire residents to get more involved in cycling initiatives across the borough.
“We have some of the best cycle routes in the country with stunning scenery and it’s this sort of family activity that adds to the health and wellbeing of communities – and that’s something this council is committed to.
“It will also be a key driver for tourism, which is already worth £807m to the Cheshire East econ- omy, and would help attract even more highprofile national events in the future.”
The race, which will take place next September, would bring sponsorship and promotional opportunities to local businesses. The funds will come from the council’s investment sustainability earmarked reserve.
Mike Higham, a keen cyclist and representative of the Macclesfield Wheelers, said: “There is always a bit of controversy surrounding these things and the fact the council has to pay out, but it can be very good for the town.
“The big prize is hosting the start or the finish because that’s when you get everything in one place and it really can boost the economy and it would be a big opportunity for Macclesfield to showcase what it’s all about.
“Obviously as a cycling club we are very supportive of it, but the great thing about cycling is that it’s very accessible as a spectator, you can get close to the action. And there are usually some fantastic kids events that go alongside so it’s a great opportunity for them too.”
He added: “It’s a big race – it’s one below the continental tours like the Tour de France – so you get some class riders, which is quite exciting.”
●● Could Sir Bradley be heading to town?