Article first posted on Sport Nottinghamshire website Sep 2012
Monday 10th September 2012 saw the Tour of Britain come to Nottingham for the first time in 7 years, altogether about 100 riders, including Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish who has now won 23 Tour de France stages and is ranked 4th on the tours all-time list one place ahead of Lance Armstrong, perhaps the worlds most famous cyclist.
My own start to the day was an early one getting into Nottingham at around 6.30 am. Being a keen cyclist and not wanting to be late for this ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity I didn’t want to get stuck in traffic or risk being late.
The race was scheduled to start at 10 am prompt, from outside Nottingham Castle which was a superb backdrop to such an event. As the sun was coming up I enjoyed watching the frenzy of activity as sponsor hoardings were erected, TV crews turned up, volunteers arrived and then a bit later on of course, hundreds of excited school children, all frantically waving their sponsor flags and wearing Bradley Wiggins masks took their places at the start.
Last but not least, the riders started to arrive, each one of them was required to sign on before the race started, which provided some great photo opportunities right in front of the Robin Hood statue.
I was lucky enough to get a media pass and access to get right up close to the riders. I tried to imagine how I would feel were I about to ride to Liverpool on a bike – pretty nervous was the answer, but these guys oozed confidence, many of them bronzed from continental races, covered in scars from previous races and some sporting bandages and wounds from only the day before.
On a more light hearted note the talk on the start line was high spirited and I was amused to see ‘Wiggo’ throw his half eaten energy bar at ‘Cav’ like a naughty schoolboy. You certainly couldn’t accuse ‘Wiggo’ of not having a personality could you?
The race started with military precision at 10 am and on leaving the castle, moved through Old Market Square and on to Wollaton Park. The first part of the race was a virtual procession (Neutralised) and the race proper started at Trowell Road, near the M1, before climbing into Derbyshire and the Peak District.
Australia’s Leigh Howard eventually outsprinted Mark Cavendish to win the stage as it ended in Cheshire, 41/2 hrs later.
Stage Two, Nottingham to Knowsley, 180.7km
1) Leigh Howard, AUS, Orica GreenEDGE, 4:31:09
2) Mark Cavendish, GBR, Team Sky, same time
3) Boy Van Poppel, NED, UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling, same time
4) Steele Von Hoff, AUS, Garmin – Sharp, same time
5) Russ Downing, GBR, Endura Racing, same time
6) Sep Vanmarcke, BEL, Garmin – Sharp, same time
7) Wesley Kreder, NED, Vacansoleil – DCM, same time
8) Nathan Haas, AUS, Garmin – Sharp, same time
9) Sam Bennett, IRL, AN Post Sean Kelly, + 0.01
10) Luke Rowe, GBR, Team Sky, same time
For all my Tour of Britain photo’s see: