Video & gallery: Fans flock into town centre to watch Wiggins and Cavendish (From The Westmorland Gazette)
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Video & gallery: Fans flock into town centre to watch Wiggins and Cavendish
HUNDREDS of enthusiasts lined the streets of Kendal, Kirkby Lonsdale and Shap as the Tour of Britain rolled through Cumbria on stage four yesterday (Wednesday).
Mark Cavendish reigned supreme in a tense finish in Blackpool, just pipping Steele Von Hoff to win stage four of the Tour from Carlisle.
It means Cavendish goes six seconds clear at the top of the overall rankings ahead of Leigh Howard, who finished third.
Boy Van Poppel, fourth yesterday, is third overall, 14 seconds behind last year’s Sports Personality of the Year along with Team Sky’s Luke Rowe, the man who set Cavendish up for his stage win in Blackpool yesterday.
A breakaway group of six emerged from the start of the race with Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish part of the peloton as they were six minutes 40 seconds behind with the race entering Shap.
Pupils at Shap Primary School waved flags and cheered as the cyclists raced through before them.
Lois Whittaker, headteacher, said: “The children have loved every minute of it. “The five to seven years olds have enjoyed a bike day, doing sprints and obstacle courses, while the older children are being journalists, putting together a newspaper about the event.”
The second sprint section began at Kendal Rugby Club and went along Aynam Road as more than 200 pupils from Ghyllside Primary School watched.
Keen cyclist John Whittam said: "It's good to see all the town out to watch the race - there are almost as many people here as there were for the Torch."
As the race headed for Kirkby Lonsdale, lines of excited people camped out on grass verges with flags waved by on-lookers. People were dressed in biking attire as well as their waterproofs as heavy rain poured down when the riders arrived into the town 25 minutes behind schedule.
Long-time fan Arnold Sharples, 64, had travelled down from Ulverston to see the event. "There never used to be this many people coming," said Mr Sharples.
"It's a memorable thing to come and see.”
Reaching 64 miles of the race the gap between the peloton and the chasing pack was down to three minutes five seconds and going into the final King of the Mountains of the day it was 1.45.
Craven of IGSigma Sport was first in the final KOM of the day with House second of Rapha Condor, McLaughlin third and Lelay of Saur Sojasun fourth.
Gustavsson and House lost contact with the leaders so the leading pack dwindled to four as Team Sky including Bradley Wiggins and Cavendish turned the screw approaching Blackpool. They continued to close and it was just before the line that Cavendish beat Von Hoff, with Howard third.
Peter Hodges, spokesperson for the Tour, said: “Kendal was absolutely packed considering the weather and hopefully this makes up for the cancellation of the stage last year.”