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Cyclists tackle the marathon three day Tour of Wessex

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: May 26, 2014

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Hundreds of cyclists will end their three-day Tour of Wessex cycle race today after a gruelling 335-mile ride around Dorset and Somerset.

The riders began from Somerton on Saturday, and were led out by Glastonbury Festival founder Michael Eavis in a Somerset built Ariel Atom racing car, to launch the event.

The time-trial sees riders setting off individually to race against the clock for a variety of rides and courses, with some choosing the full 335 miles over three days, and others taking on an individual stage or a 213-mile two day test.

The event is one of the biggest of its kind in the world, and pits cyclists against all the rough Somerset terrain has to challenge them, including climbing up through Cheddar Gorge, the Porlock Toll Road and onto the Quantocks, as well as touching the Jurassic Coast in Dorset, and seeing a range of the region's finest scenic spots.

This year's event is now the ninth and local businesses and tourism leaders said it provides a Bank Holiday Weekend boost to the region's economy.

Tour of Wessex organiser Nick Bourne – once the event ends today – will throw himself into a new challenge, that of trying to beat his own world record for cycling the length of Africa.

He will aim to head from Cairo to Cape Town in South Africa – more than 10,000km – in 40 days this autumn.

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