Schools are being urged to gear up for a key role when the UK’s largest and most prestigious cycle race rolls through the region this year.
The OVO Energy Tour of Britain will return to the North East of England as the North of Tyne hosts the third stage of the race on Monday 9 September, covering 114 miles.
And schools from across Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland are being encouraged to get involved, and book their perfect viewing spot, and cheer on the riders in the UK’s biggest free-to-attend cycle race.
120 cyclists plus an entourage of 120 vehicles will cycle passed as part of the race, and organisers want to create a safe place for schoolchildren to stand on the road side, offering an unrestricted view to enjoy the race and support the cyclists.
This will be the first ever stage to link all of the areas of the North of Tyne Combined Authority (NTCA) , with the route taking in Northumberland, North Tyneside and Newcastle Upon Tyne.
Mayor of North of Tyne Jamie Driscoll said: “Cycling is a great way to get fit for people of all ages so I am delighted to support the OVO Energy Tour of Britain.
“It’s great that there’s opportunities for kids to get directly involved and experience the event up close. Let’s use this as a springboard to get more people cycling.
“I’d urge people to come out and support it and soak up the atmosphere.”
Youngsters in schools across the North of Tyne area will have every opportunity to make the most of the occasion by adopting a team, getting to know who cycles for them, who their sponsors are, what other races they compete in and cheering them on as they pass near their school.
Local authorities with the NTCA area are also offering schools the opportunity for bespoke activities where possible beyond the race, to support long term cycling development, working with a number of partners around the region.
Norma Redfearn CBE, Elected Mayor of North Tyneside, said: “I am delighted that young people are being given the opportunity to play a key part in the Tour of Britain race coming through our area.
“We are committed to encouraging children from a young age to play an active role in our efforts to promote sustainable transport and adopt a healthy lifestyle and this is a great way of supporting this.”
Cllr Kim McGuinness, Newcastle City Council cabinet member for culture, sport and public health, said: “The popularity of cycling continues to grow and we want to encourage the next generation of cyclists to get involved in the sport because we know of the many benefits it brings to our health and the environment.
“Securing a safe roadside viewing spot for this special event is a fantastic way to let pupils experience the thrill of the race in all its glory and ensure the Tour of Britain leaves a lasting legacy.
“I would encourage as many of our schools as possible to get involved.”
In 2017, The Tour of Britain swept through Northumberland creating a wave of excitement as some of the world’s top cyclists, including Mark Cavendish cycled through our communities.
Residents and businesses dressed the route in the distinctive red and gold colours of the Northumberland flag and thousands of spectators lined the route to cheer on the cyclists and give them a fantastic welcome.
Councillor Peter Jackson, Leader of Northumberland County Council said: “It’s going to be a really exciting day for spectators as the cyclists race through the county’s towns, villages and hamlets, passing some iconic landmarks along the way.
“We know how proud all our residents are of their county, and it would be fantastic to see them come out in force to line the route, as they did in previous years.
“We want to take this opportunity to encourage schools to get excited about cycling, so it would be great if the race inspires both young and old to get on their bikes and explore our beautiful county.”
For further information on schools opportunities, please visit the North of Tyne Tour of Britain website: www.northoftyne-tob.co.uk/schools-information and complete an online form by Friday 28 June.