World class cycling is coming to the area with the Tour of Britain announcing its first ever Dorset stage which will pass through Dorchester.

The prestigious cycle race will begin its seventh stage in West Bay on Saturday, September 10 and will pass through Dorchester, West Lulworth and Corfe Castle, before heading inland towards Wareham, Milton Abbas and Wimborne Minster before ending in Ferndown.

The seventh stage is the penultimate day of this year’s Tour of Britain and will see Dorset’s natural beauty – including the Jurassic Coast UNESCO World Heritage Site that runs through the county - showcased to the world on TV.

A sporting spectacle is promised by race organisers SweetSpot with more than 100 of the world's best best riders taking part.

The 180 kilometre (112 mile route) through the county will initially parallel with the West Dorset Heritage coast before passing through Dorchester, West Lulworth and Corfe Castle, before heading inland towards Wareham, Milton Abbas and Wimborne Minster.

The noted climbs of Whiteway Hill, near East Lulworth, Bulbarrow Hill and Okeford Hill all feature along the route, which culminates on Ferndown’s Victoria Road.

Mick Bennett, Tour of Britain race director, said: “The eyes of the cycling world will be on Dorset come Saturday, September 10 and I know that both the world-class riders competing and the huge TV audience the Tour of Britain attracts will be blown away by the sheer beauty of the county. But more than that, the challenging terrain will make for a thrilling day of racing, with the battle for the stage victory in Ferndown likely to be fierce!”

While it may be the modern race’s first visit to Dorset, the county welcomed the Milk Race – a semi-professional forerunner of the Tour of Britain – on multiple occasions during the 1970s and 1980s. On average, the net economic benefit of hosting a stage of the Tour of Britain since 2016 has been worth £3.5m to venues.

Cllr Ray Bryan, Dorset Council’s Portfolio Holder for Highways, Travel and Environment, said: “Dorset Council is excited to be working with Tour of Britain, on what promises to be a brilliant opportunity to showcase what our county has to offer to the world.

“With stage seven of the race stretching from the West to the East of Dorset, we maximise the potential benefits for as many local residents and businesses as possible, and we’re looking to forward to providing a warm welcome to both competitors and spectators later this year.”

ITV4 will show flag-to-flag coverage of every stage, as well as a nightly highlights show. The race will also be shown in over 150 countries worldwide, in part thanks to the event’s partnerships with Eurosport and the Global Cycling Network.

Last year’s star-studded race was won by Belgian rider Wout Van Aert (Team Jumbo – Visma), with reigning world road race champion Julian Alaphilippe finishing third overall. A roadside crowd of more than one million spectators resulted in the Tour of Britain generating £29.96m of net economic benefit for the UK economy, according to research by Frontline.

Tour of Britain Stages

Stage one Sunday 4 September Aberdeen to Glenshee Ski Centre

Stage two Monday 5 September Hawick to Duns

Stage three Tuesday 6 September Durham to Sunderland

Stage four Wednesday 7 September Redcar to Duncombe Park, Helmsley

Stage five Thursday 8 September West Bridgford to Mansfield

Stage six Friday 9 September Tewkesbury to Gloucester

Stage seven Saturday 10 September West Bay to Ferndown

Stage eight Sunday 11 September Ryde to The Needles

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