Blyth saddles up for finale

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Blyth will be a hub of cycling activity on Wednesday as the 225km stage 4 of the Aviva Tour of Britain race comes to a close in the town.

Twenty of the world’s best cycling teams will bring an exciting race finish to Waterloo Road and Blyth market place on Wednesday, September 9.

The day’s highlights in Blyth include a closed road 6.5km recreational ride from Seaton Delaval Hall to Blyth with schools allowed to ride the stage route before the professional riders arrive.

Participants will be able to cycle to the gantry at the finish line and there will also be a chance to have a go on Britain’s only street velodrome in Blyth Market Place.

Councillor Val Tyler, cabinet member for arts, leisure and culture at Northumberland County Council, said: “It is going to be fabulous day in the town and the surrounding area and for local schools, and we want cyclists of all abilities to come along and get involved.”

The ride will take advantage of the road closure ahead of the riders reaching Blyth. There will also be a time trial – using the finishing straight – with a schools competition to give young people the opportunity to see what it feels like for the professionals – this will be managed by Barnesbury Club and British Cycling.

David Hall, head of leisure, strategy and transformation at Northumbrian Water, said: “As the national spotlight shines on Blyth, local spectators have a fantastic opportunity to see the riders cross the finishing line and watch the race on a big screen in the town.”

Bruce Ledger, chief executive of Active Northumberland, added: “Blyth is going to be at the centre of the sporting world when the Tour of Britain cyclists finish Stage 4 in the town.

“There are lots of safe places along the route for spectators to watch the largest free-to-spectate sporting event in the country and we want everyone to come along and cheer the cyclists on.”

The velodrome will give cyclists the chance to pit their wits against the banked track and the clock with taster sessions for schools throughout the day, and community and club activity during the evening.

There will also be a Premier Inn bed push along the finishing straight in aid of Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity.

The Blyth push is one of two semi-finals (the other is Nottingham) with the final being held in London.

There will be a big screen in the market place providing live coverage of the race fed by ITV 4 as it winds its way through the Northumberland countryside from 1pm.