A Whalley man who finished 11th in the 1968 Tour of Britain is to lead a ‘people’s peloton’ prior to Stage Two of this year’s race.

Stage Two of the 2015 Aviva Tour of Britain will power through over 150-kilometres of Ribble Valley and Pendle between Clitheroe and Colne on Monday 7 September.

A People’s Peloton comprising Ribble Valley’s community champions and unsung heroes and heroines will undertake a 1km circuit of Clitheroe town centre under police escort prior to the top race, which starts at 11am in Castle Street.

""It will be led by Howard Walmsley, 72, who took part in the Milk Race in 1968 and 1970, finishing 11th and 21st respectively. The former Whalley Golf Club captain has championed cycling throughout his life and founded the Clayton Velo Cycling Club. He also represented England in the 1969 Tour of Holland.

He will be joined at the head of the People’s Peloton by Ribble Valley Borough Council leader Stuart Hirst, who was instrumental in bringing Stage Two of this year’s Aviva Tour of Britain to Ribble Valley.

Howard Walmsley said: “I think the Tour of Britain is great for Ribble Valley and I am delighted to be taking part in the People’s Peloton. When I see cyclists now, I wish I was 21 again.”

Also taking part will be Clitheroe disability activist Simon O’ Rourke, who started Ribble Valley Shopmobility and the Ribble Valley Tramper Treks scheme that offers residents with restricted mobility the use of all-terrain electric buggies to access the countryside. Wheelchair-user Simon, who will be using a specially adapted bike, said he couldn’t wait to take part.

“I am delighted to have been nominated for the People’s Peloton. The Tour of Britain will be amazing for Ribble Valley and I can’t wait to take part.”

Other participants in the People’s Peloton include Ribblesdale Rotarian Richard Dugdale, who has raised over £10,000 for charity from sponsored bike rides; Norman Tenray, who is chief executive of construction group OBAS and a fundraiser for the Rosemere Cancer Foundation, and community nurse Nicky Scorah, who is a keen cyclist and biked across Kenya on behalf of Women v Cancer.

Ribble Valley Borough Council chief executive Marshal Scott called on spectators to give the People’s Peloton a resounding cheer as it made its way around the town centre.

He said: “The People’s Peloton will give participants the opportunity to take part in a major sporting event, as well as receive recognition for their positive contribution to the community.

“Each member of the peloton is an unsung hero or heroine, who has devoted their time to cycling, the community and good causes, some of them raising tens of thousands of pounds for charity from sponsored bike rides.

“The People’s Peloton has certainly captured the public imagination and this is our opportunity to give our unsung heroes and heroines a resounding thank you.”

The People’s Peloton will set off from the official race start in Castle Street and follow the race route through town, ending in Whalley Road in time to watch the Aviva Tour of Britain pass.

You can find more details of Stage Two, including an interactive Ordnance Survey map and download an ETA by clicking here.

Watch a promotional video all about the Stage Two route by clicking here.