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Somerset County Council has signed a contract that will take a stage of the Tour of Britain to the county each year from 2007 until 2011. The signing of the contract was celebrated at a gala event at The Caf Royal in London, held to honour the London start of the 2007 Tour de France.
Taking on the role of regional sponsor, the County Council signed the deal which will see Somerset as a focal point for the race in the West Country for the next five years. Commercial and public sector sponsors have been showing great interest in co-sponsoring the race which is expected to bring about a massive economic boost for the county, as experienced by previous Tour of Britain hosts. The route is still to be decided, but a project manager has recently been appointed to take plans forward and ensure that the county is well prepared for the race.
Councillor Paul Buchanan, portfolio holder for economic development, said: "The route we decide upon for the Tour of Britain will showcase Somerset's attractions to a huge audience, and will bring many new visitors to the county. It will open up wide-ranging opportunities for tourism and business, and we intend to vary the route each year in order to maximise exposure for all parts of the county."
Alan Gloak, Somerset County Council's chairman, gave a speech at the gala event to announce the signing of the Tour of Britain contract. Cllr Gloak said: "Somerset is a perfect setting for competitive and recreational cyclists alike, offering breathtaking countryside and wonderful coastal scenery. The Tour of Britain will help to highlight many of Somerset's hidden gems as well as its more famous attraction. We look forward to providing a warm welcome to the Tour of Britain competitors and supporters."
Tour of Britain chief executive, Hugh Roberts, added: "We are delighted that Somerset County Council has agreed to host a stage of the 2007 Tour of Britain. For this year's race we had enormous crowds on every stage and we are sure Somerset's residents will be no different next year."
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