Saturday, 04 December 2021

Businesses urged to open early for cycle race visitors

BUSINESSES in Henley are being encouraged to open early on the day of a cycle tour setting off from the town.

The third stage of the sixth annual OVO Energy Women’s Tour will start in front of the town hall in Market Place at 10.30am on Wednesday, June 12.

The professional riders will follow a 91-mile route through the South Oxfordshire countryside and beyond.

Organisers say up to 25,000 people could line the course with between 5,000 and 10,000 in Henley and a similar number at the finish line at Blenheim Palace, near Oxford. Contractors will start building a stage from about 4.30am on the day and competitors will change and warm up in a section of Greys Road car park which will remain open for fans to greet them.

The cyclists will be called to the stage and introduced to the spectators before setting off.

Organisers say everything will be packed away within about two hours of the race start.

Henley town and community manager Helen Barnett said she was encouraging businesses to open earlier than usual to make the most of the increased presence in the town.

Speaking at a meeting of Henley Town Council’s town and community committee, she said: “We are trying to persuade coffee shops to open early in the morning. All the Brakspear pubs are thinking about it at the moment.

“Greys Road car park will be closed from 4am until about noon because that’s where the cycling village will be. You can still drive through to the front of the town hall, where there will be a road closure.”

Ms Barnett said that signs would be put up around the town ahead of the event.

SweetSpot, which is organising the event in partnership with Oxfordshire County Council, says businesses will benefit as at least 40 per cent of spectators will come from outside the area. About 400 security guards, stewards and cameramen will stay in local accommodation where possible.

The event will be filmed for television from both the ground and a helicopter.

The riders will leave Henley via Northfield End and Fair Mile and race through towns and villages including Stonor, Watlington, Nettlebed and Goring Heath and Crays Pond to Goring.

They will leave Goring via Reading Road and then go north on to Wallingford Road and follow it past South and North Stoke to turn west at Crowmarsh Gifford and then go via Burford, Charlbury and Woodstock to the finish.

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