Local fans turn out in droves to support Tour of Britain riders tackling 146-kilometre stage in record-breaking heatwave | The Sun

THERE can't be many things worse than riding 146 kilometres during a record-breaking heatwave.

Well, that's what stood in front of the 95 riders competing in the sweltering Tour of Britain on Friday.

After five days of progressively uncomfortable temperatures – within which the race covered nearly 800km [497 miles] – the challenging conditions continued to ramp up to unprecedented levels on stage six.

Usually, the weather in the eight-day jaunt around the UK is a welcome departure from the soaring heat experienced at some of the biggest races of the year on the continent.

Instead, Friday saw the fifth consecutive September day of temperatures climbing above 30 degrees Celsius [86 degrees Fahrenheit] for the first time ever.

Yet that did not deter the British public from lining the streets throughout the course – which ran from Southend-on-Sea to Harlow.


How Armstrong made £16m from Uber after losing fortune in doping scandal

Back our Ukraine vs England Bet Builder which has been BOOSTED to 22/1!

SunSport headed to the midway point of the day's action, to the 5,000-person parish of Ingatestone and Fryerning, to get a feel for the atmosphere.

And those in attendance could not have been more thrilled for a televised sporting event to be happening on their doorstep.

One local said: "I think it’s fantastic that our charming village will be showcased, albeit briefly, and the rest of the country get to see the wonderful countryside around us."

While another added: "Maybe it will also mean a few potholes get fixed!"

Most read in Cycling


How Armstrong made £16m from Uber after losing fortune in doping scandal


Triathlete shunts OWN TEAM-MATE off bike into barriers & fans aren’t buying excuse


Champion cyclist aged 22 dies in training crash with team left ‘heartbroken’


Olympic legend’s son targets LA 2028 gold and claims ‘I’m better than my dad’


Hundreds of people lined the pavements in the middle of the day to watch as the three-man breakaway and 90-plus rider peloton sped through the village centre and up the hill to Fryerning – all the while making it look as flat as a pancake.

And the impressive crowds gathered despite it receiving little local promotion.

Very few signs could be seen telling people the race was coming past their homes – with one explaining they "only caught wind of it" through the village Facebook group.

That was despite the likes of Britain's Olympic gold medallist Tom Pidcock and Belgian superstar Wout van Aert leading a strong field.

Such was the lack of information that James, 40, who works in Anchor Fish & Chips metres from where the riders came through, nearly missed them because he "got his days muddled up" and "thought it was tomorrow".

Admittedly, it's not the Tour de France.

But you would still have hoped the increased attention cycling has received in the UK over the past decade would raise the Tour of Britain's profile.

By contrast, club cyclists were never going to make the same mistake as they turned up in their droves to watch their idols – with many taking the opportunity to ride some of the course.

But it was less than an ideal day for local butcher, Clive.

The 64-year-old, working at Galvin Family Butchers on Friday, admitted the extreme weather meant his sales actually dropped despite the influx of people.

When asked if he sold more as a result of the Tour of Britain, he replied: "Less. Who wants a roast dinner today?"

Nevertheless, the feel-good scene created by the race will hopefully have translated to the riders as they endured the gruelling heat on another day for the sprinters.

Ice packs attached to water bottles at feed stations on the course are often one way the peloton deal with extreme conditions.

But other than that it is a case of suffering on the bike and ticking off more tarmac as they move towards Sunday's finale.

Friday's stage was won by Bora–Hansgrohe's Dutch rider Danny van Poppel – who ended Team Jumbo-Visma's streak of winning all of the opening five stages.

There was some bad news for British fans on Saturday as their big hope, Pidcock, 24, abandoned the race due to a saddle sore infection.

Read More on The Sun

Signs of diseases hidden INSIDE your mouth – from cancer to HIV & how to check

Helen Flanagan holiday-shamed after sharing unseen pics fromGreek trip with kids

Uno-X's Norwegian rider Rasmus Tiller went on to claim the penultimate stage.

And Van Aert, 28, heads into Sunday's decider with a three-second lead over Van Poppel, 30, in the general classification.

Source: Read Full Article