As the Tour of Britain returns to Derbyshire and the Peak District, sports editor Graham Smyth put his fitness to the test on some of the roads facing the world’s top pro riders.
The 1,451km, eight-day stage race which starts on Sunday in Beaumaris, Wales, will hit our region during the 192.7km Stage 6 from Stoke-on-Trent to Nottingham on Friday, September 11.
Riders will pass through Buxton before heading along a route on Friday that comes near Whaley Bridge, New Mills, Chapel-en-le-Frith, the Goyt Valley, Castleton, Hathersage, Grindleford, Bakewell, Beeley Moor, Matlock, Cromford, Belper, and Ilkeston between Heanor and Long Eaton before finishing in Nottingham.
The race completes on Stage 8 around London, on Sunday, September 13.
Graham got on his bike on roads around Buxton, Whaley Bridge, the Goyt Valley, Castleton and Bakewell which provide a beautiful backdrop to this amazing spectacle.
The erstwhile sports editor concluded the Derbyshire route will provide a hilly challenge with long-swooping descents that could present an opportunity for a break away.
This year’s star-studded Tour of Britain field - including Team Wiggins’ Bradley Wiggins, Etixx Quck-Step’s Mark Cavendish and 2014 winner Dylan Van Baarle - is expected to attract thousands of spectators.
Derbyshire County Council has warned road closures are to be expected.
The council’s Deputy Cabinet Member for Highways, Transport and Infrastructure Councillor John Owen said: “For cycling fans the day is going to be a wonderful opportunity to see some of the top names in the sport in our county.
“And if you’ve never watched a race before then it’s a great opportunity to see a world class sporting event.”
Riders are expected to arrive at the following top spots during the following times, according to Derbyshire County Council, on Friday’s Stage 6 of the Tour of Britain.
Buxton, 11.15am to midday, Bakewell, 12.50pm to 1.40pm, Chatsworth, 1.05pm to 1.55pm, Matlock, 1.20pm to 2.15pm, Cromford, 1.30pm to 2.20pm, Carsington Reservoir, 1.45pm to 2.35pm, Belper, 2.10pm to 3pm, and Ilkeston, 2.25pm to 3.30pm.
The council warned fans should arrive about an hour before expected rider times and roads will be subject to temporary closures.
There will be festivities at Buxton’s Pavilion Gardens and Leisure Centre and Matlock’s Hall Leys Park.