Tour of Britain

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
graymee
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Tour of Britain

Postby graymee » 21 Aug 2010, 6:28pm

I'm thinking of going to Norfolk to watch the Tour of Britain as it passes through Wells Next the Sea on the King Lynn to Great Yarmouth stage. The official tour website says there's a sprint there so quite good for spectators.

Does anyone know of a better place to watch from? I specifically want to watch that stage as it's the closest to home. It's the first time I've watched a bike race, anyone got any advice or tips?
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softpedal
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Re: Tour of Britain

Postby softpedal » 21 Aug 2010, 8:38pm

Dont blink or you'll miss it.
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Big T
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Re: Tour of Britain

Postby Big T » 21 Aug 2010, 9:02pm

The best place to watch is on a big climb. On a flat stage they're travelling at 30+mph, so you won't see much of them. However, there aren't any big climbs in Norfolk so the sprint is probably as good place as any. If there's a break away, they might not sprint at all.

Actually, the start is the best place as you can mingle with the riders and see much more of them.

I hoping my son's going to be riding. He rides for Sigma Sport - Specialized and he's in with a decent chance of getting in the TOB team.
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thirdcrank
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Re: Tour of Britain

Postby thirdcrank » 21 Aug 2010, 10:24pm

http://www.tourofbritain.co.uk/_ns_pdf/ ... te_map.pdf

That's the detailed route, sorry if you knew already. Finding detailed route info, used to be one of the biggest problems, before the internet.

Ditto to what others have said. If you look across the the top of the map, there's a profile, certainly not the Alps or even the Yorkshire Dales. My much-mentioned Two Furlong Hill :lol: is in Wells but it looks as though they'll be going down it.

Just to add: if you are using a car and have no qualms about driving it for something like this, if you do a bit of planning you can easily see the race a few times during most stages and this one is no exception. You could easily be at the start, then drive inland to meet the race further on a couple of times. This isn't the TdeF. I've been at the top of Holme Moss when the race (probably when it was the Kellogs) passed. Admittedly it was very bad weather but apart from the prime judge and team (the people who judge the climbing points) it seemed to be just me and a couple of bored sheep cheering Phil Anderson in the leader's jersey.

The roads are not closed, exept for a bit at the finish. Unless things have recently changed, the police just operate a rolling road closure - approaching vehicles are flagged down by the advance police motorcyclists and waved on afterwards. Local police control main junctions. This system led to the end of Phil Anderson's career when he was "in collision with" a vehicle whose driver had chosen not to wait. (And it also ended the Kellogs because the then senior peloton pro, Sean Yates, now with Team Sky, stuck his head in the organisers' car and shared his thoughts with somebody from Kellogs.)

If you did drive about, you would have to be sure there was somewhere to park if you stopped in a town, but in places like Wells, that applies at holiday times with or without a bike race. One of the biggest problems can be knowing exactly what's happening during the stage. The people in the preceeding publicity vehicles tend to be general-purpose publicity people rather than cyclists so announcements about the timing of the approaching race can be erratic. In my experience the local police on traffic duty tend to have little idea of what's happening and even less interest. In any event, as has been mentioned, the race will pass any point on the route very quickly. On hilly stages the riders can be split into all sorts of bunches with some wide time gaps, but unless there was something completely unexpected, on a stage like this you could expect the bunch to pass intact and at a pretty high speed.

Reviewing what I've said it sounds a bit negative but it's not intended to be. I've had some great times watching the various versions of the Milk Race, Kellogs, Tour of Britain, Leeds Classic etc. When my children were small, I took them to see the riders both at before the start and after the finish of stages and chatted with riders. If you devote the day to it and do a bit of planning of your route, you can ahve a good time - but the race will fly past.

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Mick F
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Re: Tour of Britain

Postby Mick F » 22 Aug 2010, 8:31am

I watched the ToB last year as it came through Devon.

It took me two hours of cycling to get to where I thought I'd get a good view.

I especially enjoyed the motorbikes "leapfrogging" to the road junctions to stop the traffic, also I enjoyed the motorcade and support vehicles.

The Tour? It went by in a flash, and to be honest, I wasted my time.

20 or 30 riders rumbling past in a flash. I expected the zing of tyres, the flash of colour and the smell of embrocation and sweat, I expected the gleam of polished alu and whiz of the gears.

None of that, and carbon bikes sound awful. It all went by so fast it was pointless for me.

I enjoyed the four hour ride!
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eileithyia
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Re: Tour of Britain

Postby eileithyia » 22 Aug 2010, 9:13am

Top of a climb, just after a feed station ( where you might get some discarded souvenirs) or at the start / finish area.
Anywhere else and they pass far too fast.

Don't be shy do tell who your son is?
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Colin63
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Re: Tour of Britain

Postby Colin63 » 22 Aug 2010, 10:14am

In my experience the best place to watch a flat stage (I'm presuming it's a flat stage in Norfolk :) ) is near to a sprint spot. The reason for this is that there will be other spectators there, and if you get there an hour or so before the race is due you can meet people and chat to get into the mood of the occasion. Sprint spots are also places where the organisers will have people stationed so you get updates on what's happening in the race and silly flags to wave which help to make it more of a party. Try to position yourself where you can see as much of the road as you can. Being able to see the police motorbikes and riders approaching gives you time to feel the excitement. Then just cheer and shout encouragement as they whizz by. Being at the start or finish is also fantastic as you get to drool over the machines and riders are always accessible and some make a really big effort to mingle with the fans. Dave Millar, Wiggo and Gerraint Thomas are fabulous ambassadors for the sport and are always there post race chatting with fans.
So a good plan might be to go to a sprint near the start of the race and then jump in a car and charge off to the finish town for the grand finale.

I'm going to be spending the first day of the race up in Bowland to watch the riders climb the steep hills and then freewheel back to Lancaster and drive to Blackpool for the finish. It'll be a great day out. I may then follow it for another day, and if I'm having a good time keep following down to Devon and live in my car.

thirdcrank
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Re: Tour of Britain

Postby thirdcrank » 22 Aug 2010, 12:20pm

Another good spot can be just after a feeding station (I've not checked back on the map to see where they are on this stage but the recognised symbol on the riders' route card is a crossed knife and fork.) The race tends to slow down for the feeding station and that can allow an attack, although normal racing etiquette is a bit of a truce. If you've not seen how it works, team helpers (wearing their team's jersey for easy ID by the riders) stand in the road holding out the bags of grub. These are commonly known by the French word musette (meaning satchel.) They have a long strap which makes it easier for the riders to grab them and loop them over the shoulder. (It also makes it easy for them to get entangled in wheels, etc., which can lead to more excitement.) After the riders have transferred the grub to their pockets, they fold up the bags and throw them away, along with empty drinks bottles or bidons. All good souvenirs. You would be unlikely to be alone because it's a spot for the people in the know.

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Re: Tour of Britain

Postby iandriver » 22 Aug 2010, 1:52pm

From what I can see of the wells strech, I'd be on the tightest bend where they (may) need to slow up.
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pete75
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Re: Tour of Britain

Postby pete75 » 22 Aug 2010, 2:08pm

graymee wrote:I'm thinking of going to Norfolk to watch the Tour of Britain as it passes through Wells Next the Sea on the King Lynn to Great Yarmouth stage. The official tour website says there's a sprint there so quite good for spectators.

Does anyone know of a better place to watch from? I specifically want to watch that stage as it's the closest to home. It's the first time I've watched a bike race, anyone got any advice or tips?


Hi,

Are you certain that's the closest you can watch the tour? I guess Well is over 90 miles from you whereas Stage 2( Stoke on Trent - Stoke on Trent) goes out round Alton Towers and Uttoxeter which can't be much more than 60 miles away if I'm right in thinking Witham St Hughes is the new name for Swinderby Airfield. There'll be a fair bit of climbing on that stage particularly the Northern most stretch which goes nearly to Buxton and it's quite hilly round Alton & Uttoxeter as well. It might be more interesting to watch than the Norfolk stage. Might be better roads to get there as well - A46 & A50 much preferable to the long drag on the tractor bound A17.

If you wnat to see a race closer to home look out for the Lincoln Grand Prix. Top class riders and usually held on 2nd Sunday in May. The course goes up Micklegate , stone setts and about 1 in 6 - a good place to watch and about the closest you'll see in Britian to sort of stuff in Paris Roubaix and Liege Bastogne Liege.

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Re: Tour of Britain

Postby Big T » 22 Aug 2010, 3:28pm

eileithyia wrote:
Don't be shy do tell who your son is?


My son is Stephen Adams - Sigma Sport-Specialized - They've got a training camp next weekend to see who makes the final selection.
Last edited by Big T on 22 Aug 2010, 3:46pm, edited 1 time in total.
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hubgearfreak
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Re: Tour of Britain

Postby hubgearfreak » 22 Aug 2010, 3:45pm

pete75 wrote:The course goes up Micklegate , stone setts and about 1 in 6 - a good place to watch


it is a good place to watch, but if you want to find it on the map, look for michaelgate :wink:

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another good spot is the bottom of burton village.

graymee
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Re: Tour of Britain

Postby graymee » 22 Aug 2010, 3:54pm

if I'm right in thinking Witham St Hughes is the new name for Swinderby Airfield.


You're absolutely right Witham St Hughs is what used to be RAF Swinderby domestic site, they've demolished all the barrack blocks and messes and built houses.

There's actually 2 reasons why we chose Stage 6 to watch. Distance wise Kings Lynn is approximately 68 miles from home. Uttoxeter is a mile or two closer but we like all that area round Wells next the Sea. We intend to go across the day before, revisit my old haunts, camp the night at Stiffkey and cycle along the coastal path into Wells to watch the race.

Unfortunately I couldn't watch the Lincoln Grand Prix earlier this year as I was away on a course. I hope to watch it next year if I'm around.
I'm not old and cynical, I'm realistic!

pete75
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Re: Tour of Britain

Postby pete75 » 22 Aug 2010, 4:30pm

High Sands Creek campsite? I know it well.

auk929
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Re: Tour of Britain

Postby auk929 » 26 Aug 2010, 10:49am

softpedal wrote:Dont blink or you'll miss it.


Lol, yep that's true!
Ben
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