Having recently received confirmation that the penultimate stage of the OVO Energy Tour of Britain will pass through a sizeable area of The Cotswolds on Saturday 9 September, Cotswolds Tourism has already started to highlight how to make the most of the Tour’s many promotional opportunities.

The clock is already ticking and Cotswolds Tourism (working closely with Cotswold District Council, Tewkesbury Borough Council, and West Oxfordshire District Council) has just organised two public meetings which were a great success. Both events focused on boosting the appeal of the Cotswolds to the media, cyclists and the thousands of spectators who are expected to line the route on 9 September. They were very well attended by enthusiastic representatives from local schools, cycling clubs, accommodation providers, visitor attractions, and local town and parish councils.

The first event was hosted by Moreton-in-Marsh Fire Service College, and the second took place at the White Hart in Winchcombe, a town where the locals have already experienced the thrill of the Tour of Britain and can testify to its crowd pulling appeal.

Peter Hodges, the PR & Marketing Director of Tour of Britain organisers SweetSpot, fielded a wide range of questions from the audience at Moreton, where he was joined by a last minute surprise guest – James Lowsley-Williams, who is a professional rider here in The Cotswolds. James and Peter were able to share their experiences of how towns along the route of past editions of the Tour of Britain and the recent Tour of Yorkshire promoted local produce and extended hospitality to cyclists by providing extra bike racks, as well as encouraging local pubs and inns to show the live TV coverage of the race, which is available on ITV4 and Eurosport.

James Lowsley-Williams of the BIKE Channel Canyon team commented:

“As a local professional cyclist I have been lucky enough to do training rides in the Cotswolds for the last seven years. We have some of the best and most picturesque roads in the country, and I cannot wait to race on them in front of a huge crowd.

“The OVO Energy Tour of Britain is a very prestigious race and features some of the best riders in the world – there is no better place to compete against them than on my home roads.”

Cotswolds Tourism, alongside the local councils, are stressing how vital it is for people in each key town or village along the route to work with them and ensure that locals and visitors will enjoy a memorable day – or perhaps even a fantastic weekend. They are encouraging community representatives and others to volunteer facts and information, images and interesting ideas, as well as ensuring that all other events happening around the area are listed on the destination website www.cotswolds.com

Businesses are being encouraged to touch base with their nearest town or parish clerk to take advantage of the opportunities that are available, including banner advertising on The Cotswolds website and sponsorship packages for the promotional films that are being planned.

One interesting idea that has already emerged through the Great British Bike Build and the Tyndale Cycling club is a Vintage Cycle procession to tie in with the big race.

Stephen Preston from Great British Bike Build said:

“As a business we build traditional bikes for urban and commuter use, and we are also a dealer for Pashley Cycles. I am also associated with the Tyndale Cycling Club which encourages members to ride their retro vintage bikes dressed in period clothing. We will be looking to ride some of the Tour of Britain route, working with several Cotswold towns along the way to highlight the roles they play in English history and heritage.”

Local key attraction Sudeley Castle was represented at the Winchcombe meeting by Sian Jocelyn who stated:

“We are delighted that the Tour will be passing through Winchcombe and other scenic parts of the Cotswolds this year. It seems fitting that the Tour of Britain should include some of the lesser-known areas of the UK which are off the beaten track but showcase our beautiful countryside and picturesque towns. When the tour passed through in 2014 there was a terrific buzz in Winchcombe and the turnout brought the town to a standstill. We look forward to being part of that celebration again”

Anyone with further ideas about promoting the Cotswolds leg of the race should contact cotswoldstourism@cotswold.gov.uk

Tour of Britain 2014 Cycling passing through Winchcombe