THOUSANDS of people lined the streets of Wrexham and Flintshire as Britain’s premier cycle race arrived in the region.
Cycling fans young and old were out in force to catch a glimpse of their heroes as stage four of the 10th Tour of Britain made its way through towns and villages, including Caergwrle, Llay, Marchwiel, Mold, Pontblyddyn and Wrexham.
The expectant crowds were rewarded for their patience as Sir Bradley Wiggins and Team Sky led the peleton through the area approaching speeds of abaout 40 kmph.
Hundreds of fans lined St Giles Way, Salop Road, Brook Street and Grovesnor Road in Wrexham to cheer on Wiggins, Mark Cavendish, and local cyclist Rob Partridge, who hails from Cymau.
Rob, who rides for Team UK Youth, said: “The crowds in Wrexham were absolutely amazing today, and it made it extra special that we were cycling on the roads that I trained on when I was growing up.
“To come past Caergwrle and Abermodduu, a stone’s throw from my parents’ house, was brilliant and hopefully the Tour can return here again in future years.”
Rob, 28, in his seventh Tour of Britain, believes that riding against the likes of Wiggins and Cavendish shows how close his team is to competing on the grand tours.
“We’re not far off the standard of these guys at the top, and big crowds and tough stages like Monday in the Lake District gives us valuable experience.”
After an intermediate sprint in Marchwiel, the peleton cycled through Wrexham at approximately 12.45pm before hurtling towards Mold via Llay, Cefnybedd, Caergwrle and Pontblyddyn.
Dave Powell, manager of Team UK Youth, said: “It was great to come through Wrexham and Flintshire, with three riders in our team being Welsh and Rob being from Wrexham it gaves us an extra incentive to survive the brutal conditions on the opening three days. Thankfully the weather was brighter in Wrexham.”
PCSO Louise Hughes, who was on hand to keep the crowd in order on St Giles Way, said: “The crowds were very decent and were well behaved throughout the race passing through. It was great to see so many people out supporting cycling in Wrexham.”
Linda Morris, from Rhostyllen, watching on St Giles Way, said: “We had to come down and watch it. It’s not every day you get world-class sport coming to Wrexham and I find cycling very exciting. Why not make it an annual visit?”
Matt Price and Pete Everett, members of Mountain Bike North Wales, were spending the day following the peleton around.
Mr Everett, of Cefn Mawr, said: “I’ll watch them here, then jump on my bike and try and catch them climbing Pen-y-Pass near Llanberis. It’s great to see the tour come to North Wales.
Mr Price, of Wrexham, said: “It was important to come and show our support for the event and if it encourages more people in the area to get on their bikes then fantastic.”