So the Tour Of Britian comes to North Devon on the 3rd of September. Even better the Tour has high lighted the Woolacombe stage … the description below has been given to us by a local in the know, Mark Rutty …
Stage Two’s final climb, the one-kilometre ascent of Challacombe Hill, near Woolacombe (which averages 13%), is situated close enough to the finish to encourage attacks while also enabling the sprinters’ teams to mobilise their trains in support of their leaders. A nail-biting finale awaits!
If you have never been been to a cycling stage then you’re in for a treat but you need to know where to stand to get the best view. The cyclists are going to be averaging 42 mph so that is shifting some. So you need to make sure you are able to get a good view whilst remaining safe as a 42mph bloke on a bike is going to hurt if you get in their way.
The Tour is due to get to Ilfracombe at 14:18 and its assumed that the High Street will be busy. The riders will also be moving at speed as its flat off so blink and they will be gone.
As the tour climbs out of Ilfracombe up to the Mullacott roundabout they will then pass Cook Island (about 14:27). The riders will be starting to accelerate off the roundabout but still going slowish so this might be a good viewing point (with a nice pint in hand).
The Tour will then fly along the road towards Woolacombe. Now the corner by the Pink House (Turnpike Cross) will be interesting. Off camber corner that can get dusty and slippy or slippy in the rain when you’re in the car let alone on a bike. There is a large grass bank on the inside of the corner and you can park in the Ossaborough car park and just do the short walk along the Tarka Trail to a good spot. The sharp left by the Fortescue would be another good place to view (again time for a pint).
The tour is then going to pick up speed, and fast. The road is marked as caution fast descent and they mean it. For anyone that cycles the Strava record is 3.05mins. Our cycling ‘expert’ rode it two weeks ago and managed 4.54. Possible good spot to view are the Woolacombe S bends by Woolacombe Sands again an area that can get slippy but more likely to be just a very fast section.
As the tour flies through Woolacombe at 14:32 you could go to The Tides Inn for a view over the top, or stand at the Red Barn …
Then its the climb up Challacombe Hill. So lots of space on the grass for you to walk down and see the climb. These guys are going to climb the hill in about 2 mins where as our cycling ‘expert’ can’t even descend that hill in less than 4 mins (local record is 1:21). Finally at the top of the climb (14:29) the Tour will turn right and head toward Georgeham. This will be a great place to view the cyclists – parking will be available at Little Roadway Farm Campsite at the top of Challacombe Hill.