Hundreds of cyclists to descend on Durham dales to tackle challenging 84-mile route (From Darlington and Stockton Times)
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Hundreds of cyclists to descend on Durham dales to tackle challenging 84-mile route
ONE of the region's largest cycling events is expected to provide a boost to the economy of rural County Durham running into hundreds of thousands of pounds.
The Marie Curie Cancer Care Etape Pennines event, on Sunday, will see 1,500 cyclists tackle a challenging 84-mile course around the Durham Dales.
Starting and finishing in Barnard Castle, the event is also expected to raise tens of thousands of pounds for Marie Curie Cancer Care.
A rolling programme of temporary road closures will be put in place as cyclists make their way through Teesdale and upper Weardale before heading east to Esh Winning, down through Crook and past Hamsterley Forest.
James Robinson, managing director of organisers IMG Challenger World, said following complaints of disruption during last year's inaugural event, much time and effort had been spent working with Durham County Council and residents to ensure Sunday's Etape Pennines runs as smoothly as possible.
“When you are doing an event with rolling road closures, there is an element of disruption so it has been important for us to work with the council and take into consideration what residents say to us,” he said.
Mr Robinson said as well as the North-East, cyclists were coming from all over the country to take part.
“On the back of Sir Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome, cycling is booming and there is a demand for top quality, safe closed road events,” he added.
With registration taking place at The Bowes Museum the day before the event starts, tourism and trade officials are hoping the event will provide a late season boost to the local economy.
Nigel Dodds, strategic manager for outdoor sports and leisure at Durham County Council, said: “Last year’s event brought in an estimated benefit of £235,000.
“We hope many of those who cycle for the first time in County Durham become repeat visitors when they discover what the county has to offer.”
Tony Woods, chairman of the Barnard Castle Business Guild, which represents more than 100 of the town's traders, said he would be monitoring its impact.
“I hope it will be good and we will be asking shoppers if they came specifically for the cycling.
“It's all about footfall – we want to get people here and through the front doors of our shops, pubs and restaurants.”
Further details are online at www.etapepennines.co.uk and organisers IMG Challenger World have provided a telephone line for residents to contact should they have an issue on the day at 07796-041407.
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