Top UK cyclist Paul Oldham has tested out the toughest section of the Tour of Britain Stage Two route and believes it will have a significant role to play in how the race finishes.
The national cyclo-cross champion from Pendle, who represented his country at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games, switched code and got on his road bike to ride the Bleara Road King of the Mountains climb.
He rides for Team Hope and works for Barnoldswick cycling engineering company Hope Technology, who are sponsors of the Tour of Britain Stage Two.
Despite recovering from a nasty fall which put him in intensive care and nursing cracked ribs and teeth, Paul was still feeling sprightly enough to take on the second of the three King of the Mountains sections the 20 teams will tackle on Monday, September 7th.
Knowing the area well with some of his favourite training ground on the Clitheroe to Colne route, Paul issued some wise words for those gunning for glory on the day.
He said: “The riders start a sequence of hills out of Barnoldswick, but Bleara is by far the hardest.
“In fact it’s the steepest and toughest of all three King of the Mountains sections in the Clitheroe to Colne section of the race.
“A lot of riders will fall back on climbs like this. The first King of the Mountain at Nick O’Pendle will be an early break away, but Bleara Moor will really thin them out.
“Cyclists won’t lose the race from here, but they won’t win it if they don’t make headway on Bleara Moor,” he stressed.
After Bleara Moor the cyclists will make an exciting long descent westwards into Colne.
Paul added: “They’ll be doing 40mph, despite having a prevailing head wind in their faces.
“It’s a long pull up Pasture Lane up to Annals Cross and to Pendle’s Big End for the final King of the Mountains section.”
Bleara Moor will be one of Paul’s vantage points for the race, before he heads off for the final finishing line in Colne. He praised the route for its accessibility for fans.
Paul said: “I’ll be seeing the race twice. The beauty of the Pendle part of Stage Two is that you could see the race three or four times.”
And Paul’s hot tip: “Barrowford will be a good spot because you can then head into Colne for the big finish. You can even walk to Colne from Barrowford.
“It’s a steady climb up to the finish in Colne, but with a tail wind behind them it’ll be very fast. Don’t miss it!”
Details of the race, including where the cyclists will be and when, plus all three King of the Mountains stages and Sprints are available on www.tourofbritainstage2.co.uk