Thousands flock to see Tour of Britain in East Sussex

The peleton races through Lewes during Stage 7 of the Tour of Britain. Photo by Peter Cripps.

The peleton races through Lewes during Stage 7 of the Tour of Britain. Photo by Peter Cripps.

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Crowds lined the streets as the Tour of Britain raced through towns and villages in East Sussex today (Saturday September 13).

The elite cyclists were given an amazing reception in Uckfield, Hailsham, Seaford, Newhaven and Lewes and other communities along the way, with onlookers cheering them on.

The category one climb in the Sussex Express news area, Ditchling Beacon, proved a real test for the riders who attacked the daunting ascent.

With an 18 per cent gradient in places and an average of about nine percent, the 1.5km climb proved a real challenge for the world’s elite riders in the last few kilometres of the race.

At 140 miles it was the longest stage in the Tour of Britain’s modern history and the pain was clearly visible as they battled up the twisty country road during their seventh day of riding.

Onlookers lined the verge all the way up the hill and cheered the riders on.

After the final category one climb in Brighton up Bear Road it was a speedy descent to the finish on Madeira Drive, with Dylan Van Baarle winning the yellow jersey and the Skoda King of the Mountain jersey going to Mark McNally.

Across the county communities held cycling themed celebrations with big screens broadcasting the race, smoothie making bikes and organised ride outs designed to encourage more people to take up this sport, which is gainingincreasing popularity.

It was a real privilege to have this spectacular event take place in our county, proving what breathtaking scenery we have on our doorstep to the nation and proving what we already know: that East Sussex is a county made for cycling.