PUPILS at three West Devon schools are getting the chance to meet some of the region's future cycling stars over the next fortnight, when a leading bike academy visits their schools' in the lead up to The Tour of Britain.

The South West Bike Academy is visiting schools across Devon to encourage children to take up cycling and to cycle more often.

Some of the academy riders, along with the team manager, David Walters, will be helping to promote all forms of cycling, as well as health, fitness and sustainable travel during the schools assembly.

The Academy took part in the school assemblies at Okehampton and Spreyton primary schools on Monday.

They will also be attending the assembly at Northlew Primary School next Wednesday, September 16.

Headteacher at Spreyton Primary School, Tracy Lindsay, said: 'We were delighted to have them here and the children were really inspired by what they said.

'Many of the children went home and talked to their parents about the assembly and being more active.

'We are really excited about the Tour of Britain coming through the area and I think the assembly really captured the children's excitement.'

Devon County Council cabinet member for highways and transportation, Cllr Stuart Hughes, said: 'These visits are great for the children as the excitement builds up for the start of The Tour of Britain.

'The pupils will be meeting some of the best young riders in the south west and it brings cycling and cycle racing to life for them.

'We want Devon to be a cycling county and hopefully it will help the pupils discover the pleasure of cycling and its benefits for their health and the environment.

'It could help create a new generation of cyclists and, you never know, it may even inspire a youngster from Devon to ride in The Tour of Britain one day.'

The Academy aims to assist in the development of the region's best young racing cyclists to progress onto professional and Olympic standards.

The team currently has six riders and so far this season they have recorded 19 top ten finishes in top class competitions around the country.

South West Bike Academy manager David Walters said: 'We're proud to represent the South West as a cycle racing team, but we also want to promote cycling in general and our link with Devon and Somerset County Councils is helping us to do that.

'I'm delighted that we're able to help enthuse local children about cycling as a pastime, a sport and a form of transport that has so many benefits.'