Thousands turn out to watch the Tour of Britain staged in Hemel

Crowds gathering in Hemel Hempstead town centre on Saturday morning to watch the start of stage seven of the Tour of Britain. (Pictures kindly supplied by Kate Westwick)
Crowds gathering in Hemel Hempstead town centre on Saturday morning to watch the start of stage seven of the Tour of Britain. (Pictures kindly supplied by Kate Westwick)

The penultimate stage of the Tour of Britain cycle race rolled into Hemel Hempstead on Saturday morning.

Hemel town centre was buzzing with thousands of spectators, cyclists and their support teams from around 9am.

Polish rider Marcin Bialoblocki (of team CCC-Sprandi-Polkowice), who finished in 86th place out of the 104 finishers.

Polish rider Marcin Bialoblocki (of team CCC-Sprandi-Polkowice), who finished in 86th place out of the 104 finishers.

There was plenty of action in the town during the morning as the competitors were interviewed on a stage and the huge crowds watched all the top teams preparing for the race start.

The stage get under way at 10.30am with the 107 professional cyclists, including British star Mark Cavendish, battling their way up the dual carriageway and along Maylands Avenue before sailing down Queensway and winding through Hemel’s Old Town High Street.

Once the racers sped away from the town, there were other activities taking place to entertain the crowds including the spectacular ‘3sixty’ bicycle stunt display team performing some high-flying moves in Bridge Street.

Some of Hemel Storm’s basketball stars were also on hand to meet fans (see picture, right).

This penultimate stage of the tour – stage seven – took the competitors on a route of 185km and went via the Cotswolds and Cleeve Hill before finishing in Cheltenham town centre.

The stage winner was Dylan Groenewegen, of The Netherlands, from Team Lotto.

Australian rider Caleb Ewan (team Orica–Scott) was second and fellow countryman Brenton Jones (team JLT–Condor) was third.

Cavendish finished in 67th out of 104 finishers.