CROWDS of residents, visitors and excited school children waving flags lined the streets of Tavistock Town Centre last week to cheer on Bradley Wiggins, Mark Cavendish and their many competitors as they whizzed through for the Tour of Britain race. The fifth stage of the tour, hosted by Devon County Council, saw the cyclists start from Exmouth and fly through Princetown and Tavistock before making their way to the stage finish line in Exeter. Excitement grew among the crowds in the town as police motorbikes cleared the roads moments before the racers appeared, encouraging the public cheering by sounding their horns in a chanting manner. Among the 114 riders in the race were Sir Bradley Wiggins of Sky Pro Cycling, Mark Cavendish of Omega Pharma Quick-Step and Marcel Kittel of Team Giant Shimano. Michal Kwiatkowski, of Omega Pharma Quick-Step, started the day in the Friends Life Yellow Jersey and his team led the chase as four riders formed a breakaway group. The small lead group — Matthias Brandle of IAM Cycling, Maarten Wynants of Belkin Pro Cycling Team, Andreas Stauff of MTN-Qhubeka and Shane Archbold of An Post Chainreaction — swept up the lion's share of points in the Skoda King of the Mountains and YodelDirect Sprints classifications but it did not affect the lead of those competitions. The breakaway riders still had a lead as they approached the Skoda King of the Mountains climb on the outskirts of Exeter, but Austrian Brandle broke away from his fellow escapees to take a solo victory, eight seconds ahead of Archbold in second and Wynants in third. Michal Kwiatkowski finished seventh to keep the Friends Life Yellow Jersey with three stages remaining. He maintained a three second lead over Edoardo Zardini of Bardiani CSF in second place. Ireland's Nicolas Roche of Tinkoff-Saxo was fourth overall, 14 seconds behind, and Sir Bradley Wiggins was 27 seconds behind in sixth. Cllr Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council cabinet member with responsibility for cycling, said on the day: 'Year after year people across Devon have turned out in their droves to support this event and they have done themselves proud again today. 'It has been excellent to see such impressive crowds across the county again and hopefully we may have matched last year's record of 250,000 spectators.' Lisa Piper, manager of Tavistock BID (Business Improvement District), was pleased with the turnout in Tavistock and said it seemed as though the Tour organisers were as well, as they tweeted the BID saying what an 'awesome show' there was from Tavistock. Lisa said:?'The town was packed. I think it was probably one of the best tour turnouts we have had. 'Tavistock as a whole did a really good job and I hope it comes back next year — I'd love to see another start or finish here.'
Tour stage a super success
Tuesday 16th September 2014 10:00 pm