Britain’s premier cycling event – the Tour of Britain – will hit the highways of Cheshire East in September, with a challenging leg which takes in the Cat and Fiddle A537 road, a climb of over ten kilometres.

Cheshire East residents will be able to watch from close distance, some of the world’s most famous riders as they whizz through villages and towns, including Congleton in the south – where the event will start – and Knutsford in the north, completing the 182-kilometre stage in picturesque Tatton Park.  

Top riders such as Sir Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish have competed in the past, but the complete line-up for 2016 will not be known until nearer the event, which starts on September 4.

Cheshire East will host Stage Three of the Tour on Tuesday 6 September, which will have begun in Glasgow with a route eventually concluding in London.

The Leader of Cheshire East Council, Cllr Rachel Bailey, said: “We feel truly privileged to be hosting this wonderful spectacle in the Borough and delighted that the Tour have selected Cheshire East to host this third stage of what is a captivating sporting event.

“As a Council we believe passionately in promoting healthy sports such as cycling. In Cheshire East we have well over 200 miles of cycleways, including the 167 miles of National Cycle Network, plus off road routes including the Middlewood Way, Wheelock Rail Trail and Biddulph Valley linear trails. 

“All this is testament to our commitment to promoting this activity for all our families and to the enthusiasm shown by our residents and cycling clubs. We hope that this event will inspire many others to take up cycling, whether for sport or leisure.”

The stage will include a 10.5 kilometre climb into the Peak District, finishing at the Cat and Fiddle Inn at 515 metres above sea level, the second highest public house in England.  Spectators at the finish line in Tatton Park will also be able to see Stage Three twice, as the race completes a mid-stage passage through the finish line.

Race director Mick Bennett, said: “Stage Three will present spectators with the chance to see the Tour of Britain on multiple occasions, not least of which at the finish in Tatton Park where we will have a passage of the line mid-afternoon, making it one of the best spectating locations on this year’s route.  The stage combines the gently rolling roads of the Cheshire Plain with some key climbs such as the Cat and Fiddle in Cheshire’s Peak District, while we are working with our partner’s at Cheshire East Council to bring the Tour of Britain to as many of the communities in the areas as possible.”

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Cheshire East Councillor Sam Gardner, Cabinet member for open spaces, said: “Events such as the Tour of Britain and Tour de France have generated huge interest in cycling together with the many other cycling events and tournaments that take place in Britain and abroad.

“The success of many of our Olympic and Commonwealth competitors has also stimulated a great following for the sport.

“Cycling is big in Cheshire and we anticipate a huge turn out at the roadside. And we are grateful to the Tour for selecting Cheshire East to host this third stage of the event.”

The Tour of Britain will begin in Glasgow on Sunday 4 September and finish in the heart of London on Sunday 11 September. Following on from the Cheshire stage subsequent stages will take the race to Wales and the South West of England, including a summit finish at Haytor on Dartmoor and a challenging circuit race in Bristol on the penultimate day.

Jonny Clay, British Cycling director of cycle sport and membership, said:

“We are proud to announce the 2016 route for Britain’s national tour. Every year the Tour of Britain offers a  chance for the public to see some of the world’s best road riders racing through their local area. Last year’s race had a bit of everything; fast flat sections, rolling roads and a great hill top finish which led to exciting racing for the competitors and fans alike. .This year’s route has all the same ingredients, so promises to be a great event.”  
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For the fifth successive year fans can look forward to enjoying daily live coverage of all eight stages on ITV4, with the channel broadcasting a three-hour live programme from each stage, plus one-hour of highlights every evening during the race.

Chain Reaction Cycles continue their partnership with the race and sponsorship of the Chain Reaction Cycles Points Classification, won in 2015 by Team WIGGINS’ Owain Doull, while UK parcel carrier Yodel will continue to sponsor the daily intermediate YodelDirect Sprints classification, which Peter Williams of ONE Pro Cycling won last September.

ŠKODA remain official car suppliers and sponsors of the King of the Mountains jersey, also won by Williams in 2015.

The Tour of Britain is British Cycling’s premier road cycling event giving cycling fans the opportunity to see the world’s best teams and riders competing on their door step.

Cheshire East Council will be making further announcements about the event and how residents and children can get involved by following the build up. Watch out for further updates on the Cheshire East Council web site or visit: www.cheshiretourofbritain.co.uk