The Isle of Wight will host the final stage of the Tour of Britain cycle race in 2022 it has been announced, with the Isle of Wight Council set to enter into a formal agreement with organisers today (Saturday).
International cycling stars are expected to take part in the major event which will begin in Aberdeenshire and conclude on the Island in September 2022.
The tour regularly attracts the world’s top cyclists, including Olympic and world champions and Tour de France winners, who all compete over an 8 day period.
The event is expected to provide a significant economic boost to a wide range of sectors on the Island such as accommodation, hospitality and retail. The benefit could be as much as £4million, with a single stage attracting upwards of 150,000 spectators. The Isle of Wight will also benefit from live TV coverage on ITV4 and Eurosport.
Further details are expected to be released in due course, including the exact date of the event. It is understood the race will be held on a weekend and will result in rolling road closures.
Hugh Roberts, Tour of Britain Managing Director, will meet with Council Leader Dave Stewart in Ryde this morning to sign the agreement to bring the Tour of Britain to the Island. Following the signing, Hugh will depart on Leg 1 of ‘The Great Tour’ – a 6,700km awareness and fundraising cycle ride around the coast of Britain which will finish back in Ryde on Saturday 5th September.
It was in September 2019 that Island Echo revealed that the Isle of Wight Council was exploring the opportunities of bringing a major cycling event to the Island. The Tour of Britain was set to be held on the Isle of Wight next year but the coronavirus pandemic has seen the schedule pushed back by 12 months.
Councillor Stewart has said:
“Securing the Tour of Britain is a major coup for the Island and just what is needed to help boost the local economy after the devastating impact of coronavirus.
“This is a wonderful opportunity to showcase the stunning landscapes of the Island to an international audience, attracting spectators locally and from afar to enjoy world-class cycling.
“This event will support our economy through hotel stays or spending money in local shops and businesses.
“Just as the Isle of Wight is synonymous with sailing, so too I hope we can become a mecca for all things cycling with Tour of Britain and other exciting cycling events in the pipeline.”
Stephen Park, performance director for the Great Britain Cycling Team has said:
“The Isle of Wight is well known for its sailing heritage and it’s also a brilliant place to ride a bike thanks to the unique and distinctive coastline and scenery, so I know the stage will be a landmark event in 2022’s sporting summer.
“While we will all miss watching this year’s Tour of Britain, it is great to see the organisers break new ground with a first trip to the Island.”
The last major cycling event held locally was the Pearl Izumi Tour series in 2015. Before that it was the cross-Europe Sealink International in 1983 and the Isle of Wight Series 2 years later, but the Tour of Britain will dwarf all 3 events in terms of scale.
Today’s news will undoubtedly be welcomed by Isle of Wight businesses and residents alike following what has been a disastrous 2020. There is more good news on the horizon too…