This Saturday September 10 will see the AJ Bell Tour of Britain arrive in Dorset for the first time in the penultimate stage of their 2022 cycle race.
Step seven will parallel the Dorset Heritage West Coast before passing through Dorchester, West Lulworth and Corfe Castle. The road heads inland towards Wareham, Milton Abbas and Wimborne Minster and loops through the heart of Ferndown town centre.
Tourist villages will be set up in the start and finish areas – the Esplanade in West Bay and Victoria Road in Ferndown respectively – in the early hours of Saturday. These will allow runners to have everything they need before and after the race, with the Ferndown tour village with several grandstands and tents for spectators, provided by local partners.
At the request of security officials, the curbs and bolted bollards on Dorchester Road in Weymouth are also being temporarily removed on Thursday morning (September 8) for a few days. This is a precaution to avoid the need for a barrier in front of the bollards along the cycle path, as the busy mix of support cars, security vehicles, high-speed runners and motorcyclists required for the race to take place in complete safety require the removal of this type of road furniture. This is normal practice for major cycling events and has the added benefit of facilitating a thorough sweep of the road for our street cleaning crew. We will start putting back the curbs and bollards from Monday (September 12).
Weymouth will take part in the Tour of Britain’s National Land Art competition, which sees locals coming together to install eye-catching creations in support of the cycle race. Their entrance will be set up in one of Tumbledown’s fields, with the design to be visible from the air and hopefully filmed by helicopter as the race is televised around the world.
Dorchester is hosting several race day attractions to celebrate the eventincluding their participation in the national Land Art competitiona major cycling celebration event in Brewery Square and a cycling film screening at the Corn Exchange.
Other towns and parishes along the route are preparing to host the race. Many made signs and hung banners, like West Moors who brought out the bunting and its people ensure their village is at its best.
The race itself starts at 11 a.m. in West Bay and will end around 3 p.m. in Ferndown. If you cannot make it to the start or finish, your nearest sprint points or ŠKODA King of the Mountains climbs along the route offer a perfect opportunity to catch the best cycling action. These are: –
- Common Lane, Burton Bradstock (platoon expected around 11.15am)
- High West/East Street, Dorchester (12:05 p.m.)
- Daggers Gate, West Lulworth (12:32 p.m.)
- Whiteways Hill, Tyneham (12.43pm)
- South/West Street, Wareham (1:02 p.m.)
- Okeford Hill, Blandford Forum (1:39 p.m.)
- Knowlton, Wimborne (2:36 p.m.).
Please note that some of these locations may not have sidewalks, so please plan ahead and arrive early to ensure a safe vantage point away from the highway. The gap between the fastest and slowest riders will increase as the race progresses, so we recommend checking the Stage 7 schedule on the AJ Bell Tour of Britain website. to see how long it will take the peloton to pass.
Cllr Ray Bryan, Dorset Council portfolio holder for highways, travel and the environment, said:
“We have worked closely with the AJ Bell Tour of Britain on what promises to be an exciting race through Dorset, ensuring the route is safe for spectators, cyclists and motorists.
Hosting such a prestigious event in our beautiful county is a huge honor that will support our local economy and provide a wonderful opportunity to showcase what we have to offer to an international audience.
I know the residents of Dorset will join me in warmly welcoming the AJ Bell Tour of Britain and its supporters as they arrive. I wish everyone the best of luck and look forward to seeing these athletes compete.