Dave is definitely UP for cycling challenge - The Evesham Observer

Dave is definitely UP for cycling challenge

Evesham Editorial 25th Aug, 2019   0

A FORMER national champion and Pershore resident got on his bike and geared up for the OVO Energy Tour of Britain’s return to Worcestershire by riding the entire stage route on a penny farthing.

Dave Preece, the 2014 British Open Penny Farthing racing champion, tackled the nearly nine route of the prestigious race’s Pershore individual time trial stage which will welcome the world’s best riders on Thursday, September 12.

Among his other notable achievements, Preece conquered the iconic Land’s End to John O’Groats coast-to-coast on his Penny Farthing in 2015, taking just 15 days to complete the 970-mile challenge.

Pershore resident Preece completed the stage in 40 minutes and 24 seconds at an average speed of 13.3mph. It is expected the Tour of Britain stage winner will post a time of approximately 20 minutes.

“I’m so pleased my home town of Pershore hosts the race’s individual time trial stage. Like many people who will be watching this year’s Tour I was keen to ride the course to see how I matched up to the professionals,” he said.

“The course will provide some great racing. It has a few short, sharp climbs; some technical turns, and what will be a very fast last mile coming back down the hill into Pershore.

“I enjoyed my lap but it was tough going. The short climb out of Pershore is quite steep and it was only just ridable. The middle section of the course was better and almost perfect for the penny farthing. I made good progress here and had great views over the hedgerows from my elevated riding position.

“Heading back towards Pershore is harder than it looks – it is quite exposed to winds. The town centre has a 20mph speed limit: I didn’t hit it but the pros will easily be doing double that.”

The OVO Energy Tour of Britain, the UK’s most prestigious and longest-running international cycling event, returns to Worcestershire in September for its first stage set entirely in the county in the modern edition of the race.

Stage six starts from Pershore’s Broad Street, with riders passing through Little Comberton and Bricklehampton during a scenic anti-clockwise before finishing along the market town’s High Street.

This spectator-friendly day of racing will allow fans to see more than 100 world-class professionals up close as they tackle the course individually. Action begins from 1.01pm with the last rider expected to cross the line at 3.20pm.

The stage is the third individual time trial to be held in the OVO Energy Tour of Britain in as many years, following equivalent stages in Bristol in 2016 and Clacton-on-Sea two years ago.

“What a great effort by Dave,” said OVO Energy Tour of Britain race director Mick Bennett.

“It’s fantastic to see he’s been inspired to tackle the course that the professionals will be racing over next month, although I’m not sure Dave’s time will stand up against the times we expect on September 12.

Mark Williams, sports development officer at Wychavon said: “It’s fantastic Dave has undertaken this quirky challenge to highlight the time trial coming to Pershore.

“We fully appreciate the stage will cause some disruption in Pershore, however this is a unique opportunity for the town and we promise that it will all be worth it.”

Visit www.tourofbritain.co.uk or follow the OVO Energy Tour of Britain on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram.

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