‘Best crowds’ turned cycle race day into tour de force!

Crossing the finishing line at the end of the Nottinghamshire stage of the Tour Of Britain cycle race in Mansfield. (PHOTO BY: Simon Wilkinson/SWpix.com)
Crossing the finishing line at the end of the Nottinghamshire stage of the Tour Of Britain cycle race in Mansfield. (PHOTO BY: Simon Wilkinson/SWpix.com)

The ‘best crowds in the country by far’ helped Mansfield and Ashfield to turn the Tour Of Britain cycle race into a tour de force.

That was the view of the organisers as they looked back this week on the Nottinghamshire stage of the prestigious event which wended its way across the county, including parts of Ashfield, before ending up in Mansfield.

The Executive Mayor of Mansfield, Coun Kate Allsop, presents the stage winner, Ian Stannard, with his prize.

The Executive Mayor of Mansfield, Coun Kate Allsop, presents the stage winner, Ian Stannard, with his prize.

It is estimated that about 200,000 people lined the streets to cheer on the riders, while millions of viewers watched on TV as the 215-kilometre route passed some of the county’s landmarks and countryside, including the new Sherwood Forest Visitor Centre and Robin Hood Country.

Dozens of impressive land-art displays also caught the eye, including a mining-inspired creation at Bilsthorpe.

The organisers heralded the stage as attracting the best crowds and the most displays, which delighted Coun Kay Cutts, the leader of Nottinghamshire County Council.

Coun Cutts said: “It was an incredible day and shows that our county has what it takes to host an international sporting event of this scale.

Schoolchildren on their bikes as part of the day's entertainment in Mansfield.

Schoolchildren on their bikes as part of the day's entertainment in Mansfield.

“The support, goodwill and enthusiasm of local residents, businesses and schools were phenomenal. There was a marvellous atmosphere and, despite the weather, Nottinghamshire really shone.

“I thank those who turned out to line the route in their thousands. Hours of hard work went into creating the miles of bunting, countless flags, yellow bikes galore and creative displays of land art.

“We will now be looking carefully at the TV coverage and photos to decide the winners of our best-dressed town and village competition.”

Coun Cutts said she was particularly proud to see so many spectators wearing Robin Hood hats along the route. Even the stage winner, Ian Stannard, and the overall race winner, Julian Alaphilppe, were filmed or photographed wearing one.

A new, wooden sculpture of a link from a bike's chain in Chesterfield Road Park, Mansfield to mark the Tour Of Britain.

A new, wooden sculpture of a link from a bike's chain in Chesterfield Road Park, Mansfield to mark the Tour Of Britain.

Race organisers are now encouraging spectators to complete an online survey with their feedback at www.tourofbritain.co.uk.

MANSFIELD is purring with pride at the success it made of hosting the finale of the Tour Of Britain’s longest stage.

Coun Dave Saunders, of Mansfield District Council, said: “For the second year in a row, we demonstrated Mansfield’s ability to attract and host the Tour Of Britain.

“This is exactly the kind of major event we hope to bring to Mansfield more often in the future -- for the benefit of businesses, residents and visitors as part of the council’s wider vision to put the town on the map as a good place to live, work, visit and invest in.

“Thankyou to everyone who supported us. The event encouraged people to get more active and brought the local community together. It also showcased Mansfield to a global audience.”

As well as the race, the day featured a summer festival finale in Chesterfield Road Park, comprising free entertainment for all the family, including live music, cycle-related activities and a new wooden sculpture.