Mid Wales

Newtown and Swansea host Tour of Britain cycling race

Cyclists racing (c) Michelle Rudd
Image caption Cyclists are leaving from Newtown in Powys and end the day in Swansea

Some of the world's best cyclists are in Wales for the latest stage of the UK's top cycling event.

The 2010 Tour of Britain is a gruelling 760-mile race around England and Wales and features some of Britain's former Olympic champions.

It is the first time the race has been staged in Wales for six years and started in Newtown, Powys, and ends the day in Swansea.

Olympians Bradley Wiggins and Geraint Thomas are among those taking part.

Cyclists set off from Rochdale on Saturday morning and made their way to Blackpool at the start of the eight-day race.

The Welsh leg of the tour, sponsored by Powys council, is 93 miles (150km) started in Newtown at 1015 BST.

The race is going through Llandrindod Wells, Builth Wells and Llanwrtyd Wells before heading into Carmarthenshire and onto Swansea in the afternoon.

Wynne Jones, who is responsible for regeneration and development at Powys council, said: "We are delighted that the country's best known and most viewed cycling event will be starting in Newtown.

"The event is hugely popular and likely to attract thousands of visitors to Powys, providing a welcome boost to the economy."

Swansea will mark the end of the third stage of the Tour of Britain and some features of the route mirror conditions in the famous Tour de France race, claims Swansea council.

It said Constitution Hill would test cyclists in the same way as the Alpine peaks and a sprint finish along the Kingsway would replicate the feel of Paris.

Graham Thomas, Swansea council's cabinet member for culture, recreation and tourism, said: "This is a world class sports event that I'm sure the people of Swansea will embrace.

"The Tour of Britain will not only appeal to people who line the routes but will also boost local traders because of an influx of visitors and people staying in local accommodation."

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