Residents and traders in Stow-on-the-Wold are preparing for an influx of visitors on Saturday 9 September when Stage 7 of the OVO Energy Tour of Britain passes through the town en route to Moreton-in-Marsh, Winchcombe, Cleeve Hill, and the finish in Cheltenham.

Stow-on-the-WoldThe action begins in the morning when the Great British Bike Build and Tyndale Cycling Club jointly host a Tour of Britain Heritage Ride around the area. As many as 60 vintage bike riders from across the country – including the ‘ladies basket brigade – will assemble in Stow’s Town Square at about 11am before the ride begins. The public will be able to take in the splendid sight of the riders in all their period finery before they depart at noon en route to Bourton-on-the-Water.

The main event will follow shortly afterwards when the OVO Energy Tour of Britain arrives in Stow at about 1.30 – 1.45 pm heading north to Moreton-in-Marsh. Lead cars – which are normally about 15-minutes ahead of the riders – should begin to arrive in Stow at 1.15 pm. To help the crowds cheer on their favourites, free hand held flags – kindly sponsored by the Unicorn Hotel – will be available on the day.

Aside from the racing events, businesses in the town will be ensuring that there are several other things to see and do on the day. Perhaps the stand-out attraction will be at Christopher Clarke Antiques in Sheep Street (pictured). Aside from displaying SKODA King of the Mountain cycling colours, the shop will also host a charity ‘Wheels in Motion’ exhibition from Friday 8 September to Saturday 16 September, which will feature a display of vintage bicycles and old photographs of cyclists – including some taken in Stow.

Proprietor Simon Clarke comments: “We hope that visitors will pop into our antique shop and help us support our nominated charity ‘Alfie’s Hope’ which desperately needs funds to help combat a child’s rare genetic condition PCDH19.

“Not only will people be able to donate to the cause but they will also be invited to have a go on our exercise bike which will be mirroring the full 1,311km OVO Energy Tour of Britain race distance over its duration. We will start this challenge on Sunday 3 September – the day the OVO Energy Tour of Britain begins – and see if visitors to our exhibition can get to Stow before the professional riders arrive.”

Elsewhere, many shop fronts will be decorated to commemorate the event, with ‘winner’s jersey green’ bicycles (courtesy of Bainton Bikes) and a sheep theme much in evidence. The former R. A. Bennett shop in the town square will be used to promote the event, and the Stow Social Club in Well Lane will be showing the race live on TV.

As the excitement builds across Stow, the Chairman of the Town Council, Cllr Ben Eddolls, looks forward to the event:

“In 1967 the Milk Race saw cyclists begin a stage in Swindon which was divided into two parts, with Stow being the breakpoint. So the town hosted a finishing line and a restart. Fifty years on we are very excited that the 2017 OVO Energy Tour of Britain is coming through Stow.

“This is the highest town in the Cotswolds so it will be great to see the riders powering up Stow Hill. It should be exciting too as this is the penultimate Stage of the Tour. We are also delighted that the Tour of Britain Heritage Bike ride is coming to Stow at around 11 am. The riders enjoy dressing up in traditional vintage cycling ‘tweed’ and riding heritage bicycles. The ladies quite often wear frocks and display flowers in their baskets and men wear plus fours and have traditional saddlebags on their bicycles – quite a spectacle and not to be missed!”

In addition to the long stay car park, adjacent to Tesco and the Pay and Display car park in Maugersbury Road there will be a temporary car park at the QEII playing field (and cricket ground), Lower Swell Road (GL54 1LD). This is being run by the Sam Pilcher Charitable Trust and the cost for parking all day will be only £3. Motorists will be directed to the playing field via temporary yellow signs.

Further details about the events in Stow are available from the Clerk, Stow on the Wold Town Council on 01451 832585 or email info@stowonthewold-tc.gov.uk

For more information about Stage Seven, including an interactive map and full timings for the route, please click here.