Dacorum will welcome the return of the Tour of Britain this autumn, as the penultimate stage of the race begins in Hemel Hempstead on Saturday 9 September.
Stage Seven of the OVO Energy-sponsored race will begin in the town centre. The 120-strong field of the world’s top professional cyclists will then head up into Maylands Avenue, across to Long Marston before moving out into Buckinghamshire. The leg will cross the Cotswolds, finishing in Cheltenham.
Sally Marshall, Chief Executive of Dacorum Borough Council, said: “We're honoured to welcome the tour back to the borough. Dacorum successfully hosted the Tour of Britain in 2014 and it’s great to have the event back – especially as the penultimate stage of the race will start in Hemel Hempstead. We hope to see as many visitors as possible in the town centre and along the route, and are sure it will inspire residents of all ages to get active.
“There will also be opportunities for everyone, whatever their ability, to get involved in community cycling events organised by Get set, go Dacorum, in the lead-up to the event in September. This year is proving to be a memorable one for Hemel Hempstead – as well as welcoming the tour, we are celebrating the 70th anniversary of becoming a New Town and the completion of our £30million Hemel Evolution project, which has transformed the town centre.”
The last time the Tour of Britain visited Hemel Hempstead and Dacorum was in 2014, when a memorable Stage Six finished in the town, seeing Britain’s Alex Dowsett pull on the race leader’s jersey. Hemel Hempstead also hosted the finish of The Women’s Tour in 2015.
Mick Bennett, Race Director of the OVO Energy Tour of Britain, said: “After the success of the men’s stage finish in 2014 and the finale of the Women’s Tour in 2015, we are delighted to bring a start of the Tour of Britain to Hemel Hempstead.
“Coming on a Saturday morning, we are sure this will be a popular start for spectators, with the route through Dacorum going through some very picturesque areas.”
The 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 doorstep, and takes place between Sunday 3 and Sunday 10 September 2017.