Dorset makes final preparations for the arrival of the AJ Bell Tour of Britain

This Saturday 10 September will see the AJ Bell Tour of Britain arrive in Dorset for the first time in the penultimate stage of their 2022 cycle race.

Stage seven will run parallel with the West Dorset Heritage coast before passing through Dorchester, West Lulworth and Corfe Castle. The route heads inland towards Wareham, Milton Abbas and Wimborne Minster and loops round into the heart of Ferndown town centre.

Tour villages will be set-up at the Start and Finish areas – the Esplanade at West Bay and Victoria Road in Ferndown respectively – in the early hours of Saturday. These will ensure riders have everything they need before and after the race, with the Ferndown tour village featuring several stands and tents for spectators, provided by local partners.

At the request of safety officials, the bolt-down kerbs and bollards on Dorchester Road in Weymouth are also being temporarily removed on Thursday morning (8 Sept) for a few days. This is a precaution to prevent the need for a barrier in front of the bollards along the length of the cycleway, as the busy mix of support cars, safety vehicles, high-speed riders and motorcycle outriders needed for the race to run safely require this kind of road furniture to be removed. This is normal practice for big cycling events and has the added benefit of making a thorough road sweeping easier for our street cleansing team. We will start putting the kerbs and bollards back from Monday (12 Sept).

Weymouth will be taking part in the Tour of Britain’s National Land Art competition, which sees local people come together to install eye-catching creations in support of the cycle race. Their entry will be installed in one of the fields at Tumbledown, with the design to be visible from the air and hopefully filmed by helicopter as the race is televised worldwide.

Dorchester is hosting several attractions on race day to celebrate the event, including their entry to the National Land Art competition, a big cycling celebration event at Brewery Square and a screening of a cycling film at the Corn Exchange.

Other towns and parishes along the route have been preparing to welcome the race. Many have made signs and hung banners, such as West Moors which has got the bunting out and its residents are making sure their village looks its best.

The race itself begins at 11am in West Bay and will finish around 3pm in Ferndown. If you cannot get to the start or finish, your nearest sprint points or ŠKODA King of the Mountains climbs along the route provide a perfect opportunity to catch the best cycling action. These are: –

  • Common Lane, Burton Bradstock (peloton expected around 11:15am)
  • High West/East Street, Dorchester (12:05pm)
  • Daggers Gate, West Lulworth (12:32pm)
  • Whiteways Hill, Tyneham (12:43pm)
  • South/West Street, Wareham (1:02pm)
  • Okeford Hill, Blandford Forum (1:39pm)
  • Knowlton, Wimborne (2:36pm).

Please note that some of these locations may not have pavements, so please plan ahead and arrive early to secure a safe viewing spot away from the highway. The gap between the fastest and slowest riders will increase as the race goes on, so we recommend checking the stage 7 timetable on the AJ Bell Tour of Britain website to see how long it will take for the peloton to pass.

Cllr Ray Bryan, Dorset Council’s Portfolio Holder for Highways, Travel and Environment, said:

“We have been working closely with the AJ Bell Tour of Britain on what promises to be an exciting race across Dorset, ensuring that the route is safe for spectators, cyclists, and motorists.

To have such a prestigious event come to our beautiful county is a huge honour that will support our local economy and provide a wonderful opportunity to showcase what we have to offer to an international audience.

I know Dorset residents will join me in providing a warm welcome to the AJ Bell Tour of Britain and its followers when they arrive. I would like to wish everyone taking part the best of luck and look forward to watching these athletes compete.”

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