A FORMER Tour of Britain cyclist will lead the people’s peloton in the second stage of the race on Monday.

Howard Walmsley, 72, of Whalley, took part in the event in 1968 and 1970, when it was known as the Milk Race. Now he will lead a line comprising Ribble Valley’s community champions.


The peloton will cover a three-quarter-mile circuit of Clitheroe town centre under police escort prior to the start of the race, which begins at 11am in Castle Street. Stage two of the Aviva Tour of Britain will travel through the Ribble Valley and Pendle on Monday.

The ex-Whalley Golf Club captain said: “The Tour of Britain is great for Ribble Valley and I am delighted to be taking part in the people’s peloton. When I see cyclists now, I wish I was 21 again. The sport has come on massively since I rode. The length of the race is similar but the popularity of it has shot up.

“The sport was in its infancy in the 1960s in the Ribble Valley, and we found it difficult to get road circuits closed off to race on. With riders like Bradley Wiggins the sport has snowballed and I can see it getting bigger and bigger. The tour has not gone through Whalley since 1969 so it has been a very long wait to see it in the area again.”

He will be joined at the head of the peloton by Ribble Valley Borough Council leader Stuart Hirst and Clitheroe disability activist Simon O’Rourke who started Ribble Valley Shopmobility.

Other participants include Ribblesdale Rotarian Richard Dugdale, Norman Tenray — a fundraiser for the Rosemere Cancer Foundation — and community nurse Nicky Scorah, who biked across Kenya on behalf of Women v Cancer.

Ribble Valley Borough Council chief executive Marshal Scott called on spectators to give the people’s peloton a resounding cheer as it makes its way around the town centre.

The people’s peloton will set off in Castle Street and follow the race route through the town, ending in Whalley Road.