Britain’s big race hits Rochdale
Date published: 16 September 2019
The riders pass along The Esplanade in front of Rochdale Town Hall
The world’s top cyclists descended on Rochdale this weekend for the final day of the OVO Energy Tour of Britain.
Flags and banners were out in force as thousands of spectators turned out across the route to welcome British Cycling's premier road cycling event at lunchtime on Saturday (14 September).
Mathieu van der Poel reiterated his billing as one of the hottest talents in professional cycling as he was crowned the 2019 OVO Energy Tour of Britain champion later in the day in Manchester. The 24-year-old Dutchman sealed his victory in style, sprinting to win this year’s race after a frantic day of racing.
Fans of all ages were in prime position for a great view as the cyclists travelled along The Esplanade, past the town hall before heading for the long scenic climb up Edenfield Road, live on television.
Over 500 spectators gathered in a viewing zone at Jubilee Park in Norden, with hundreds more lining the route from Newgate in the town centre and along The Esplanade by the town hall in the sunshine.
Councillor Allen Brett, leader of Rochdale Borough Council, who watched the race by the town hall and took part in some of the activities, said: “The event was wonderful, we saw huge crowds at the town hall, in Norden and across the borough. The community really got behind The Tour of Britain and we certainly gave the riders a warm welcome.
"With fans watching on television worldwide the area looked stunning in the sunshine and it was great to see so many residents out enjoying the occasion. I really hope the day has encouraged more to get out on their bikes and explore the fantastic countryside right on our doorstep.”
Entertainment was hosted at Rochdale Town Hall along with food, music and cycling related activities, including two packed performances of Bicycle Boy – a bicycle-powered musical show with songs, laughs and lots of interaction.
Before the professional riders arrived, visitors were also invited to try out a range of different bikes and ride them along the race route on The Esplanade. Whether you’re just learning to ride, a regular cyclist, a wheelchair user or not confident about riding, there were lots of bikes to try including balance bikes, mountain bikes, three-wheelers and accessible bikes.
Free basic bike repairs were provided by expert technician Chris Docker, with 17 bikes brought along and made roadworthy again.
Taking full advantage of the fine weather, Lisa Clayton from Link4Life, hosted outdoor spin classes on The Esplanade, putting visitors through their paces.
The boroughs pubs, bars and restaurants were busy, with many offering front row seats to watch the world’s top cyclists up close.
Coverage of the day is available on demand via the ITV Hub catch-up service.
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