Packed Prom welcomed cycling heroes

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THOUSANDS of cycling fans packed the Promenade to cheer on their heroes as the Tour of Britain took over the famous Golden Mile.

Olympic and Tour de France legend Bradley Wiggins lined up alongside his Team Sky compatriot Mark Cavendish as the elite athletes set off from Carlisle.

But Cavendish, who suffered heartbreak at London 2012, delighted the crowds as he took the Stage Four victory at the finish outside The Tower.

The electric atmosphere on the Prom gave visitors their very own taste of the success achieved by Team GB’s cyclists this summer as the tour returned to the town after last year’s cancellation due to storms.

Civil servant Marc Tilbury, 39, of Heron’s Reach, Blackpool, had booked the afternoon off work and cycled to the finish line to catch a glimpse of his idols.

He told The Gazette: “This is absolutely fantastic.

“I’m a massive fan of cycling and it’s brilliant something like this has come to my home town.

“I came down especially to see the Sky team because Wiggins is amazing and it’s great to be able to see him and Cavendish.

“It’s great for Blackpool because there’s thousands of people here.”

Joe Calvert, 19, of Glade Way, Thornton, added: “It was a brilliant day.

“The speed they got up to on the Prom was unbelievable.

“I went to see the cycling at the Olympics but seeing them in my home town is even better.”

Alan Green, 76, of Breck Road, Poulton, added: “The fact this is in Blackpool is great.

“They went past me so fast but I still had a great day.”

Cavendish’s second successive stage win saw him become the overall leader and claim the yellow jersey.

Alex Williams, 29, from Anchorsholme, says seeing Cavendish win was the highlight of his day.

He added: “This is the first year I’ve seen this because I decided to come down after watching the Olympics.

“Cavendish winning so close to home is the best result I could have asked for.

His friend, Oliver Thompson, 30, from Lytham, added: “It’s been great coming to see this and all I wanted was to see Cavendish win.”

Trevor Clark, 64, of Lune Grove, Blackpool, was watching the race with his wife Judith.

He said: “It’s been a very good day and it’s great for the town.

“We are both big cycling fans and wanted to come down here after watching the Olympics.

“I was tracking them all the way down from Carlisle on the TV and managed to see the end of the race.

His wife added: “The atmosphere is great and we’ve really enjoyed seeing everyone.”

Mick Rowley, 46, cycled across from Doncaster to see the end of the race on the Fylde coast.

He said: “I came here especially for today and couldn’t have hoped for a better result when Cavendish won.

“It was brilliant and the crowds were a lot bigger now after the success of the Tour de France and Olympics.

“Everyone is really interested in it and that shows with the atmosphere.”