As an avid cycling fan I was very pleased to hear that the third stage of the Tour of Britain would be finishing in Tatton Park in Cheshire on the 6 September 2016.
As it is only just over an hours drive from where I live in West Yorkshire I decided to attend to watch the culmination of the race and also take the opportunity to have a look around Tatton Park which is a National Trust property (Junction 7 of the M56 motorway and then about a 10 minute drive to the entrance).
On arrival I found that the parking was free (almost unheard of these days) and the marshalling of the cars was excellently done with what appeared to be a good number of volunteers in attendance, so a pat on the back for all those people.
The park is vast and I was only able to visit a number of the gardens, in particular the Italian garden and a wonderful fruit and vegetable garden. In the latter I saw the biggest marrows and squashes I have even see. There were various fruit trees bearing different kinds of apples and many of them looking ripe for eating.
Eventually I made my way down the race finishing straight to grab a place from which I could take photographs. The real bonus was that the organisers had set up giant screens from which we could watch the live progress of the race.
As part of the entertainment for the crowds there were men on “penny farthing” cycles riding up and down the finishing straight who happened to be dressed in traditional “Victorian apparel.”
By 3.00pm there were thousands lining the finishing stretch in the park, and I think every cycling club in the north of England must have had representatives present. I have to say there were some interesting “sights” dressed in glorious lycra, but all credit to them they had got on their bikes and come to support the event.
At 3.35pm the race leader Ian Stannard entered the park alone having made his break from the leading group almost one hour ago, a couple of minutes later there was a hard fought duel for second and third place by two riders and then a further seven minutes back the main peloton fought out a sprint finish.
The atmosphere was tremendous and all the riders got an incredibly appreciative welcome from the mass crowds along the route.
After all that excitement I made my way back to my car fully expecting a long wait to get out of the park. However, the marshalling was again excellent, those leaving in cars demonstrated courtesy in letting people in to the queue (well, it is Cheshire and people are very posh around here!) and I was out of the park within fifteen minutes.
So, a huge “well done” to the organisers for putting on an excellent day, the cyclists of course for providing the spectacle and the excitement, and to all the staff and volunteers who did everything possible to make the day run smoothly.
Photographs (c) Kindadukish 2016