COLUMN: Tour of Britain preparations are underway

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Plans continue to take shape for the arrival of the Tour of Britain race, which is fast approaching.

It’s the biggest free-to-attend sporting event to come to Nottinghamshire and the countdown is on to Wednesday September 6.

It is a fantastic coup to host an entire stage of this race.

This is why we want everyone to get into the spirit of things by turning up to help line the 175-kilometre route, as well as getting involved in the build-up.

The stage starts in Mansfield, where spectators will have the unique opportunity to experience the pre-race atmosphere as the cyclists gather at the start line. The TV crews will be here too, getting interviews with riders before the start.

All the county’s schools have been invited to take part in two competitions - aimed at pupils aged between four and 11 years old - to design the winner’s trophy and also to design a flag to wave off the riders at the start of our stage.

The winners of both competitions will have their designs professionally made and will be invited to either wave the flag that they designed at the start of the stage or present their winning trophy design to the stage winner in Newark, where the Nottinghamshire stage is due to reach an exciting sprint finish.

A big part of the Tour of Britain is the spectator support of course. Along the route, the different type of flags and banners will be all part of the fun.

Other ways pupils, residents and businesses could get involved is decorating schools, houses and business. This could involve decorating or upcycling an old bike and painting it yellow – similar to the Tour de Yorkshire. Remember, millions of viewers from across the world will be tuning into this race and so your school, house or business may get spotted on the helicopter TV coverage.

Local landowners can also support the event by using their land for unusual art displays which can be viewed from the skies.

The route will visit a town or villages near you. The riders will go to Hucknall before heading towards Worksop and riding through the magnificent Sherwood Forest. After continuing north, competitors will then pass through Retford and Collingham before finishing in Newark.

It will showcase some of the county’s best tourist attractions, but let’s hope the most impressive thing about Wednesday September 6, is how creative the residents of Nottinghamshire are with their colourful displays, flags and banners.