Cyclist James Gullen gets first glimpse of Tour of Britain route which comes to Tendring on September 7

Left to right, route director Andy Hawes, rider James Gullen and Tim Sutton. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Left to right, route director Andy Hawes, rider James Gullen and Tim Sutton. Picture: GREGG BROWN - Credit: Gregg Brown

A leading professional cyclist got his first glimpse of the route some of the world’s best will take when the Tour of Britain comes to Tendring in just a matter of weeks.

Left to right, route director Andy Hawes, rider James Gullen and Tim Sutton. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Left to right, route director Andy Hawes, rider James Gullen and Tim Sutton. Picture: GREGG BROWN - Credit: Gregg Brown

Huge crowds are expected when cyclists from across the globe arrive on the north Essex coast for the exciting elite event.

Cyclist James Gullen said he is excited at the prospect of tackling the competition for the first time when Clacton hosts the time trial section of the race on September 7.

It is the first time the town has played host to the men’s tour, after previously welcoming the Women’s tour in 2014 and 2015.

Mr Gullen, who specialises in the time trial, yesterday announced he would be taking part in the race, bar any injuries, as he got his first glimpse of the route at a special event preview.

Left to right, route director Andy Hawes, rider James Gullen and Tim Sutton. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Left to right, route director Andy Hawes, rider James Gullen and Tim Sutton. Picture: GREGG BROWN - Credit: Gregg Brown

He said: “I’m really excited to be taking part in my first Tour of Britain finally and to see Tendring. It’s going to be really good.

“As a British rider it is great to be able to race in front of the British people. You get ridiculous crowds and it makes it really special for us to see.

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“There really aren’t many other sports where you can watch pro riders race for free.”

The Tour of Britain starts in Edinburgh on September 3 before finishing in Cardiff on September 10.

The Tendring time trial will start at the Martello Coach Car Park and riders will take part in a 16km route which goes along the sea front to Great Holland before returning to the starting point.

Mr Gullen said it was an important part of the race as essentially he could secure his team a top 10 place if he finished well.

He said: “I am really excited because I had the opportunity to take part in the Tour of Britain a few years ago, but I didn’t make the team and then last year my team didn’t qualify.

“This has been a long time coming for me. I can’t wait.”

Andy Hawes, route director of the Tour of Britain, said Tendring had always been at the top of the list for places for the tour to pass through.

He said: “We have always had a good working relationship with Tendring and they have welcomed us back with open arms again after the women’s race.

“It’s going to be a very big day.”

Tour will be ‘something really special’ for Clacton

Tendring Council hopes the Tour of Britain will bring the largest crowds ever to Clacton, beating the previous womens’ races attendance record.

Nigel Brown, communications manager, said the authority is expecting cycling fans to come from abroad to be there on the day and watch the race.

He said: “We have got the Clacton Airshow this week and then within a matter of days we will be having the Tour of Britain.

“Having the women’s race in 2014 and 2015 was fantastic, but this is going to be something really special. The only way we could get any bigger than this would be to have the Olympics and that is unlikely to ever happen.

“We have always been in contact with the organisers and when they started looking for places for this year’s tour we got involved in conversations.

“We want to continue to bring bigger and better events to Clacton.”

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