Tour of Britain coming to Honiton
- Credit: Archant
World-class cyclists will race through Honiton in September – two years after the Tour of Britain delighted crowds of spectators across the county.
Stage Two of the race will take place on Monday, September 3 - starting in Cranbrook and finishing in Barnstaple.
The route was announced at the 2018 OVO Energy Tour of Britain national launch in central London on Tuesday evening. The race is being hosted by Devon County Council (DCC), supported by North Devon Council and East Devon District Council and working with Barnstaple Town Council and Cranbrook Town Council.
Starting in Cranbrook, the race covers 182km - or 113 miles - of countryside across East Devon, Mid Devon and North Devon, before finishing in Barnstaple.
The stage will travel through three Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, skirt along the western borders of Exmoor National Park, visit the North Devon Biosphere Reserve and take in the coastal road from Combe Martin to Saunton.
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From Cranbrook, the riders head towards Chineway Hill, in Ottery St Mary for the first King of the Mountain climb, just a few kilometres into the race. Racers will then pass through Honiton, Uffculme and into Mid Devon, racing down Tiverton High Street.
The race will then travel into North Devon, through the Pannier Market in South Molton – the first time in the history of the modern Tour of Britain that it is has been routed through a building. Riders will continue into Barnstaple before embarking on a 70km loop, only to return to the town for the grandstand stage finish.
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The loop takes in the communities of Bratton Fleming and Combe Martin, where the race takes in Ilfracombe, Woolacombe, Croyde and Saunton Sands, Braunton and back to Barnstaple.
This North Devon section will include a sprint close to Castle Hill and the last real test for the riders, the brutal 13 per cent (average) incline of Challacombe Hill just 20 kilometres from the finish.
Councillor Stuart Hughes, DCC’s highways management boss, said: “Devon is synonymous with the Tour, this will be the 10th time in 12 years it has come to Devon, and each and every time the crowds have been treated to a thrilling stage and something different.