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Crowds line streets for Tour of Britain in St Helens
3:47pm Monday 10th September 2012 in News
Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins in full flow on Main Street, Billinge, where large crowds gathered. Picture by BERNARD PLATT
THOUSANDS lined streets in the borough today to watch some of the world's best cyclists compete in the Tour of Britain.
Stage two of the event saw the riders heading from Nottingham to Knowsley.
Part of the route took them through Garswood, Billinge, Crank and Rainford.
The race finished at Knowsley Safari Park where Team Sky's Mark Cavendish was beaten to the line by Australian Leigh Howard, the Orica-GreenEDGE sprinter.
The peloton had earlier arrived in the borough shortly after 2pm. Large crowds gathered at locations such as Main Street, Billinge, in Crank and on Higher Lane, in Rainford.
Hundreds of schoolchildren were there, keen to get sight of Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins.
Among those gathered on Higher Lane were residents Tony and Ann Griffiths, who showed their support in an extra special way.
Keen cycler Tony, 61, and his wife Ann, 60, painted a banner to support Olympic hero Wiggins.
Tony told the Star: “Today has been wonderful! It’s great to see so many people coming out to support British cycling and see these amazing athletes.
“It may have only lasted a few seconds when they passed but we enjoyed the build up.”
Tony and Ann, of Rainford, watched both the Olympic and Paralympic events and were delighted to see so many people supporting the Tour of Britain.
Ann added: “It’s just wonderful to see so many people come to our village to see the event. The children from the school seemed to really enjoy it and that’s what it’s all about!”
There were a few unhappy residents in Rainford, however, after the ITV coverage of the event cut to an advert break as the tour went through the village.