?Ribble Valley and Pendle will play host to the world’s top cyclists this September as Stage Two of the Friends Life Tour of Britain races through both boroughs from Clitheroe to Colne.

Monday 7th September will see Stage Two, Ribble Valley and Pendle, Clitheroe to Colne take place on a route that includes the Nick O’Pendle climb, Dunsop Bridge, the exact Centre of the Kingdom, and Slaidburn in the Forest of Bowland, and Barnoldswick, before the finish in the centre of Colne.
 
Ribble Valley Borough Council leader Stuart Hirst said: “Ribble Valley is one of the UK’s premier visitor destinations, with a national reputation for fine food and drink, outstanding independent shops and stunning countryside.
 
“The Tour of Britain attracts a huge following, as well as an international television audience, so is the ideal showcase for Ribble Valley’s many attractions.
 
“We are delighted to be hosting the Tour of Britain and look forward to giving the elite cyclists, their teams and the hosts of visitors the event looks set to attract a warm Ribble Valley welcome.”
 
After departing from Clitheroe in the morning, the race will pass back through the town in the afternoon, before the run in to the finish through Nelson and into Colne.
 
Councillor Paul White, who has responsibility for Enterprise, Growth and Promotion in Pendle, said: “We’re really excited to host a stage of this year’s Friends Life Tour of Britain. Stage Two is the shortest but toughest of the stages so it will be a great one to watch.
 
“The Tour is the country’s largest free-to-spectate sporting event, attracting thousands of spectators to each stage. According to an independent report commissioned by the Tour of Britain, last year each host area saw an injection of at least £2m into their economy.
 
“Pendle really is a hidden gem and this gives us an amazing opportunity to show the world what we have to offer! We’re really excited and hope that everyone will get behind it and help to make it a fantastic event.”
 
It will be the first visit of the Friends Life Tour of Britain to the two boroughs since 2010, when the opening stage of the race passed through on its way from Rochdale to Blackpool, and the first time ever that either Clitheroe or Colne have been a host venue.
 
Commenting on the announcement, Mick Bennett, Race Director of Friends Life Tour of Britain organisers SweetSpot said;
 
“We are pleased to be bringing the race to Ribble Valley and Pendle for the first time and look forward to showcasing the area via the race and associated live television coverage. We have a great, and testing route, which will be one popular with fans who should be able to catch the action in more than one location.”
 
Stage Two will begin in Clitheroe town centre, completing a clockwise route via Nick O’Pendle, Longride, Dunsop Bridge and Slaidburn in the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
 
After Gisburn the route heads into Pendle via Barnoldswick and Earby before briefly returning to Clitheroe in the Ribble Valley and then on to Whalley, Nelson and the finish in Colne.  Further details of the route, including Ordnance Survey stage maps, will be announced in the Summer, along with details of the 20 competing teams.
 
Ian Wilkinson, who’s from Barnoldswick and rides for Team Raleigh – GAC, is really looking forward to taking part in a home stage.
 
He said: “Ribble Valley and Pendle are fantastic places to cycle. The landscape is challenging and very dramatic. I’m sure all of this year’s competitors will enjoy Stage Two.”
 
The 2015 Friends Life Tour of Britain will start in Wales for the first time in the modern race’s history, with Anglesey hosting the start of the opening stage to Wrexham, finishing eight days later in the heart of London with an iconic new circuit taking in many of the capital’s world famous sights.
 
Once again ITV will screen three-hours of live coverage of every stage, starting on ITV for the opening Wales stage before reverting to ITV4 for Stages Two to Eight.  ITV4 will also screen a one-hour highlights programme each evening during the race.
 
The Friends Life 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.