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Thousands turn out for Tour of Britain in Mansfield

One of the most high profile events to be hosted by Mansfield had the town buzzing with excitement yesterday as thousands of people turned out to watch the OVO Energy Tour of Britain 2017 cycling race.

Local people and cycling fans from around Britain lined the streets as Mansfield hosted the start of Stage Four of the prestigious round-Britain cycling event, which saw some of the world's top cycling superstars set off from the Market Place and race through the town and around Nottinghamshire.

The race - the biggest free-to-attend sporting event in the UK - featured 120 of the world's top cyclists. It was the first time Nottinghamshire had hosted a whole stage.

In the Market Place spectators were able to get up close to and talk to their sporting heroes who chatted with the crowds and signed autographs. They even got to see former Top Gear driver The Stig on the stage along with the cycling teams. 

It is estimated that the event, which included an all-day welcome party in the Market Place on Tuesday, could have boosted the local economy in the county by as much as £4m. 

It is also hoped that the event will leave a lasting legacy in encouraging more people to get on their bikes and get active.

Deputy Mayor of Mansfield Cllr Mick Barton said: "What a fantastic event it was, and the smooth organisation by the council and all its partners reflected really well on the district. It was great to see so many people coming to see the race and enjoying everything Mansfield has to offer.

"The event has been a fantastic boost for Mansfield and the local economy as well as putting the town on the map. The Tour of Britain organisers were particularly impressed with the running of the event here and the great atmosphere it generated in the town centre yesterday. Let's hope we can welcome them back in the future."

The 113-mile route through the county took in more than 45 towns and villages as well as landmarks including Clumber Park and Newstead Abbey before finishing at Sconce and Devon Park in Newark.

The race set off from Mansfield Market Place at 11am. Leading the way before the official start were a group of schoolchildren from four primary schools in Mansfield:  Sutton Road Primary, St Philip Neri with St Bede Catholic Primary and Forest Town Primary, pedalling with a police escort along Leeming Street to Chesterfield Road South where they stopped to watch the race.

The children, aged seven to 10, were chosen by their schools, which are all participants in the national School Games Initiative, and have also signed up to the Mansfield School Sports Partnership, which together aim to help children be more active and healthy.

From Chesterfield Road South the Mansfield leg of the route went along Rosemary Street, Nottingham Road,  Atkin Lane, Sheepbridge Lane and Sutton Road.

Director of Economic Growth at Mansfield District Council, Mike Robinson, a keen cyclist himself who was instrumental in helping to bring the event to the district, said: "It was a great coup for the town and what was interesting is that unusually for the Tour of Britain, the organisers decided to start this stage within the confined space of a town centre and this helped to elevate the atmosphere and create a real buzz and a continental feel.

"Hopefully the Tour of Britain will look favourably on bringing the event back here in the future."

Shops and businesses in the district also got involved in the event by taking part in a best dressed business competition. 

Among those who took part were: Lloyds Bank, Charmingly Yours Boutique,Laminate Master, in Mansfield Woodhouse, Mansfield Museum, Corner House Care Home and Sally Twinkles.

The winner who achieved the most likes on the council Facebook page wasCorner House Care Home. 

It gave its prize - two VIP tickets to the Tour of Britain village in the Market Place - to one of its residents, Warren, and his support worker, Dan. Warren was chosen because the Corner House says he is always one of the first to get involved in any event and also spends time cycling with Dan at Sherwood Pines Forest Park.

Other companies sponsored the event and the decorations around the town, taking stands at the stage start and Big Welcome Party where the Action Sports Tour team entertained the crowds with a breath-taking display of cycling skills and extreme sports.

There are lots of photographs from the event and a round-up video which people can check out on the council's Facebook page.

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