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Tour of Britain to return in 2013?

The Tour of Britain cycle race should return to the West Country again next year.

That's despite Devon County Council's contract with the organisers ending after this years event in September.

It costs taxpayers a hundred and seventy five thousand pounds, but the council says the event brings in three and a half million pounds for the county.

This year, the penultimate stage of the competition will start from Barnstaple and cover a hundred and six miles through North and West Devon before travelling across Dartmoor and into the South Hams. It finishes in Dartmouth.

The Tour of Britain has cost Devon taxpayers seven hundred thousand pounds to stage. The four year contract with Tour organisers comes to an end this September and in these tough economic times it was far from certain whether it would return. But it now looks likely that the county will hold a stage again next year and is looking to local business to help underwrite part of the cost.

The council says the event brings in £3.5m pounds for the county. Credit: ITV Westcountry

If there's any firms that are interested perhaps they could get in touch with the County Council and let's see if we can work together on this because I think it's important that we do secure the future of the Tour of Britain and secure one of these stages here in Devon and I think that's very important

– Cllr Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council

The day of racing brings thousands of people into the county. Research carried out for Devon last year found that the event was worth three and a half million pounds to the local economy. Talks with the event organisers Sweetspot are at an advanced stage as they want to return.

Peter Hodges from the tour has described the council as 'perfect partners' Credit: ITV Westcountry

They're the perfect partners and it might just sound like we say that because we're in Devon today but last year's stage was fantastic, we couldn't have asked for more. The weather, the conditions, the support we get from the council, the police, the local councils is fantastic, they really are asolutely perfect partners to work with in every respect

– Peter Hodges, Tour of Britain

At the local launch for this year's stage from Barnstaple to Dartmouth professional cyclist Chris Opie from Cornwall showed how training for races like the Tour of Britain has become high tech. His colleague in cycle Team UK Youth, Yanto Barker from Devon, is hoping his experience being part of the commentary team for ITV 4 last year will help him as he hopefully returns to the saddle for this year's race.

The ITV coverage was excellent and definitely gives you a better perspective on what the purpose of the event is and how that can contribute positively to the regions it visits

– Yanto Barker, Professional cyclist

The days of any council signing up for a four or five year contract have gone for the time being at least. But with the millions of pounds that this event is said to bring in to the county it would be very surprising indeed if the Tour didn't return to the county again next year.

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