Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

County Turns out to Welcome Tour Cyclists

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

County Turns out to Welcome Tour Cyclists

Article excerpt

Byline: Sonia Sharma and Brian Daniel Reporters

THOUSANDS of people lined the streets of Northumberland as the county played host to some of the world's top cyclists.

The region was under the national spotlight as the Aviva Tour of Britain weaved its way from the Scottish border to Blyth on Wednesday, on the first leg of its two-day visit to Northumberland.

County residents hoping to catch a glimpse of British stars Sir Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish flocked to the race route throughout the day, waving flags, banging drums, cheering and clapping as the riders sped through.

The county's towns and villages had been spruced up for the occasion, mainly in the county's gold and red colours, with bunting and painted bikes lining the streets.

Northumberland Count y Council leader Grant Davey said: "It has been a terrific event for the whole of Northumberland.

"People can see these superstar cyclists on the TV but today right across Northumberland people have had the opportunity to see them in their own back yard."

Ultimately neither Wiggins or Cavendish won the stage, with the latter's teammate - Columbian Fernando Gaviria - first to cross the finishing line at Blyth.

He was wowed by the welcome from the people of Northumberland.

"I have been very surprised by the crowds, they have been very big, back on Colombia these days you don't get such big crowds as this anymore for cycling so it was great to race in front of so many fans," he said.

"The countryside was good but it was the first time I have seen a wind farm, I did wonder what that was when we rode past one."

Among those who watched him cross the finish line were Andrea and Michael Bramley, her sister Clare French and Clare's six-year-old daughter Faye, who had been let out of Malvins Close Primary School early, all from Blyth.

Andrea, who had taken the day off work especially, said: "It is just great that it is in Blyth. …

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