THE streets of Okehampton will host 'a great party' this weekend as the Tour of Britain cycle race passes through the town centre.
To celebrate the occasion, George Street will be closed to traffic to create a party atmosphere in the town centre, encouraging visitors to come down and enjoy a range of activities. It was originally intended for Fore Street to be closed, but the decision was made to close George Street instead due to possible traffic complications.
The street party has been co-ordinated by the chamber of trade and Okehampton Cycle Club with help from Cllr Christine Marsh.
Cllr Marsh said: 'The celebrations may have moved to George Street, but Okehampton is ready to have a great party and we want as many people as possible to come down on the day, watch the race and get involved.'
George Street closes at 9.10am. From 9.15am, qualified cycle technicians from Okehampton Cycles will be on hand to carry out free bicycle safety checks.
At 10.30am, stunt BMX rider and world record holder Kye Forte and his team will give a jump display. Kye holds the world record for the BMX high jump for a jump of 6.38 metres, smashing the previous record by a metre.
It is estimated that the first riders taking part in the race will reach Okehampton shortly after 11.40am. Before reaching the town, the race is scheduled to pass through Meeth at around 11.19am, Hatherleigh at around 11.26am, and Folly Gate at 11.37am.
Once in Okehampton, the race will pass down Market Street and onto West Street before leading out of the town towards Sourton, Lydford and Tavistock.
Kye Forte and his team of stunt BMX riders will give a finale to their display after the Tour of Britain riders have passed through the town, and will then be available for autographs. Other activities planned for the day include scooter and bike races, Okehampton Farmers' Market, and activities for children.
Cllr Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council cabinet member for highways and transportation, said: 'We saw tremendous support on Dartmoor last year and we're expecting the crowds to be even bigger on Saturday. Following such a successful Olympic Games and Tour de France, I'm sure thousands of people will want to turn out to see Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish and cheer them on.'
The 106-mile Devon stage starts in Barnstaple and heads over Dartmoor before finishing in Dartmouth. It passes through communities including Hatherleigh and Princetown and includes three Skoda King of the Mountains climbs at South Hill, near Little Torrington, as well as Merrivale and Coffin Stone within Dartmoor National Park.
The stage is the penultimate one of the tour, with the final stage in Guildford on Sunday September 16.