Hemel Hempstead shines in Tour of Britain start

The OVO Energy Tour of Britain came to an exciting end over the weekend with Lars Boom resisting the elements and the attempts of his rivals to seal the overall victory.

His team mate Dylan Groenewegen won the penultimate stage of the tour on Saturday, which started in Hemel Hempstead before passing through Ashridge, Aldbury, Tring and Long Marston, and on to the finish in Cheltenham.

Hundreds gathered in the sunshine in Hemel Hempstead town centre for the early start of the race. Riders were interviewed on stage and fans got the opportunity to grab a selfie and an autograph from their cycling heroes.

As the race got under way, a helicopter flew overhead capturing some great aerial shots of Dacorum borough for the live broadcast on ITV4, as many more cycling fans came out to support the riders along the route.

After a start under clear blue skies in Hemel Hempstead and Dacorum, the race exploded into life – as did the rain clouds – with an aggressive start to the stage and Cannondale Drapac in particular making several attempts to put riders up the road.

Rider Lars Boom, said, “The first hour was quite critical, we lost two guys from the team in the second peloton, but luckily some other guys came back so we were still quite strong. If we had to do something we could do something but the first hour was almost killing me!”

Cyclist Rory Townsend, who is making his debut in the tour this year for team BIKE Channel Canyon and who met local young cyclists at the Dacorum Cycle Hub this summer, placed sixth in the general classification for the King of the Mountains stage 7.

Dacorum Borough Council organised a day of entertainment for the crowds in Hemel Hempstead after the tour had departed. Bicycle stunt team 3sixty proved popular with crowds all afternoon, and local basketball team Hemel Storm met fans ahead of winning their first game of the season on Saturday night.

Councillor Neil Harden, Portfolio Holder for Residents and Corporate Services, said, “What a fantastic morning for Dacorum to host Britain’s premier cycling event. It’s great to see so many people in Hemel Hempstead town centre and lining the route through the borough to support the cyclists and their teams. It’s great for our borough to host these events as it inspires so many people to get active and it’s a great opportunity to put our borough on the map.”

The OVO Energy Tour of Britain is British Cycling’s premier road cycling event, giving cycling fans the opportunity to see the world’s best teams and riders competing on their door step. This year the tour took place between Sunday 3 and Sunday 10 September 2017.

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