3 September 2014

Brighton welcomes Wiggo!

Sir Bradley Wiggins will defend his title and compete in this year’s Friends Life Tour of Britain cycle race, which arrives in Brighton on September 13.

The former Olympic champion and first Briton to win the Tour de France, will be among the world’s top cyclists crossing the finishing line on the penultimate stage of the race, which finishes on Madeira Drive.

Councillor Geoffrey Bowden, chair of the city’s economic development and culture committee, said: “This is a fantastic boost for the race and the city. The ‘Wiggo’ factor will make the Tour of Britain stage finishing in Brighton a ‘must-see’ event.

“We’re expecting thousands to line the route in Sussex and the city will be showcased to an international audience. Last year’s race recorded a net visitor spend of £3 million per stage so it will be significant for our visitor economy and a wonderful addition to the events we host throughout the year.”

Wiggins, who will race as part of the Sky Sports team, will use the event to prepare for the time-trial category at the Road World Championships, which take place in late September.

The Tour of Britain is one of the major events of the international cycling season, attracting professional teams and star riders from around the world. It is the country’s largest free-to-spectate sporting event and attracts the biggest live attendance of any annual sporting event in the UK.

The economic benefit of hosting the race in 2013 was an estimated £3million per stage.

The stage 7 leg of the tour, which leaves from Camberley, Surrey at 10am, takes in a 140 mile journey encompassing West Sussex, East Sussex and finally entering Brighton where it will culminate on Madeira Drive between 3-4pm. The final stage of the race takes place in London the following day.

Lead member for transport, councillor Ian Davey added: “It’s great for the city and great for cycling. To host such a prestigious event that attracts the biggest professional teams and star riders, such as Bradley Wiggins, is bound to encourage cycling in Brighton & Hove and the rest of Sussex.

"In previous years research has shown that Tour of Britain spectators have been inspired to cycle more regularly and it will be really exciting to see the riders sprint to the finish on Madeira Drive.”

Commuter cycling in Brighton & Hove more than doubled between the 2001 and 2011 Censuses - to over 6,600 people a day riding to work, the biggest percentage increase in the UK outside London.

The council has supported a number of sustainable transport schemes to make roads safer. The city has an impressive cycle network and reduced speed limits in certain areas have helped make cycling a safer experience. A new cycle hub, with storage for 500 bikes as well as well as changing facilities, café and a repair shop, is due to open at Brighton Station in October 2014.