Camberley town centre was packed full of visitors on Saturday 13th September as Surrey Heath Borough Council hosted the start of stage 7 of the Tour of Britain cycle race.
Thousands of spectators poured into Park Street and around the borough to see the UK’s biggest free sporting event depart, as over 100 riders set off on a 220km trip to Brighton. The stage was won by Julien Vermote who finished the race in 5 hours 12 minutes.
Huge crowds of people stayed throughout the day to enjoy a host of free activities organised by Surrey Heath Borough Council and Collectively Camberley. In Park Street, cycling fans were treated to stunts and tricks by Team MAD, one of the leading mountain bike display teams in the country as well as races and skill challenges by British Cycling.
Popular local band The High-s provided live music as the High Street came alive quickly filling with families after the race left. The event highlights included the 10 metre free drop where dare-devils jumped off a board into an air bag, bungee trampolines, stalls and a 26ft climbing wall.
Other highlights on the day included a group of school children leading the ride out, giant banners adorned with good luck messages from local schools and disabled riders from R U Able 2 who rode out on specially adapted bikes.
This was the first time the Tour of Britain had started in Camberley and Surrey Heath Chief Executive Karen Whelan was delighted with the day:
“It was an absolutely fantastic day and I’ve never seen Camberley so busy and buzzing. It was great to see so many local businesses get involved and I’d like to thank the sponsors for their contribution. I was delighted with the activities post-race and feel the day really showcased what the town has to offer and what we can achieve”.
Stage winner Julien Vermote said: "My teammates were so happy for me after the finish and it shows that the work I do for all of them, and the team, includes big rewards for myself too."
Garmin Sharp's Dylan Van Baarle clinched overall victory at the Friends Life Tour of Britain following a final day of racing in London on Sunday.
Stage 7 of the Tour of Britain was sponsored by The Mall, The Atrium, Collectively Camberley, Camberley Guest House, Luff and Wilkin, Knights Security and Churchill Retirement Living.