‘Frankly, we could not buy that kind of good publicity’ – Tour of Britain Devon stage with Exeter finish is hailed a huge success

Driving forces behind bringing the Tour of Britain to Devon and Exeter have hailed it a great success after thousands of people lined the streets to watch the event.

The spectacle on Monday, September 6, saw more than 100 riders race from Sherford to a packed Queen Street, writes Local Democracy Reporter Ollie Heptinstall.

Their 115-mile route also took in the South Hams and Dartmoor and American Robin Carpenter was first across the finish line to win the stage.

The race was broadcast live on ITV4 and around the world.

Devon County Council (DCC) leader John Hart said: “We could not have had a better day.

“The way that people turned out, the way the sun shone, the way Devon was shown nationally as well as locally and internationally…frankly, we could not buy that kind of good publicity.”

Holding this year’s stage cost DCC just under £220,000, which will be split over two financial years.

Exeter also contributed a sum thought to be around £70,000.

It is estimated this year’s event could generate up to £5million for the local economy.

More than £41million is estimated to have been earned in Devon by the Tour of Britain’s 13 visits since 2007.

Councillor Stuart Hughes, DCC cabinet member responsible for cycling, said: “Thousands of people turned out to watch a world-class sporting event on our doorsteps, which was fantastic, and they were treated to some excellent racing from some of the sport’s top cyclists.

“Hopefully it provided a boost to some of our local businesses as well and helps them as we aim for a strong economic recovery in the county.

“And we were blessed with stunning weather so a worldwide audience watching on TV got to see some of Devon’s most scenic locations looking their best.”

Cllr Duncan Wood, Exeter’s lead for leisure and physical activity, added: “It is fantastic that the second stage of the Tour of Britain finished in Exeter. It was a brilliant atmosphere at the finish line and it was great to see so many people enjoying the day.”

Race director Mick Bennett said the Devon stage was ‘beyond all expectations and it’s credit to everybody involved’.

He added: “I can’t sing everyone’s praises enough.”

Decision over controversial plan for 93 new homes in Exeter is delayed so councillors can visit site with ‘absolutely stunning’ views