LATEST PICTURES: 'Wiggo-mania' hits Derbyshire as thousands gear up to welcome Tour
DERBYSHIRE will be at the centre of the cycling world as the Tour of Britain passes through today.
For the county, it will be just the start of an exciting new chapter in the sport's popularity, according to the man behind Derbyshire's Olympic legacy.
Rory Slater, Derbyshire's 2012 legacy co-ordinator, said: "I think it is wonderful on many counts. It is great that this fantastic sporting event is again visiting our county and passing through places like Ilkeston, Turnditch and Duffield.
"It is so timely, with the Paralympics closing yesterday, that the people of Derbyshire will be able to see Olympic stars such as Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish today."
And, with Derby and Derbyshire being such active cycling areas already, Mr Slater hopes that the Tour will inspire yet more people to get on their bikes.
He said: "It is a great precursor to Derby's multi-purpose venue that includes the velodrome, which will be arriving in the next few years. It is a very exciting time."
Mr Slater will be among the cheering crowds close to his home today. He said: "I will be making sure that I take a couple of hours out to go to Coxbench to watch them as they come past.
"It will be wonderful to see many thousands of people coming out to support the riders and it is another chance to showcase our beautiful county."
Today's stage of the race, which began yesterday in Ipswich, starts in Nottingham city centre at 10am, before arriving around 10.30am in Ilkeston, home town of Dave Brailsford, the mastermind behind Team GB's Olympic gold rush and Bradley Wiggins' recent Tour de France success.
It will then pass through Stanley Common, Coxbench and Little Eaton before arriving for the first sprint of the day in Duffield at 10.50am. The 100 riders will then fly up to Turnditch at just before 11am before descending into Ashbourne at about 11.15am. From there they will head out of the county towards the finish at Knowsley Safari Park.
Spectators are advised to get in place at least an hour before the race passes.
Roads closed for the race will be the A609 near Ilkeston; Woodside, in Smalley Green; Smalley Mill Road, from Woodside to Horsley; Coxbench Road, Horsley, to Coxbench; the B6179 Coxbench to Little Eaton; The Town, Church Lane, Duffield Road and Eaton Bank, in Little Eaton; Makeney Road, Town Street and Wirksworth Road, Duffield; the B5023 Duffield to Cowers Lane; the A517 Cowers Lane to Ashbourne; Park Road, Hall Lane and King Street, in Ashbourne; and the A515 in Ashbourne to Green Lane.
Local diversions will be in place.
PICTURES: See more pictures here
TOUR OF BRITAIN - WHAT THEY'RE SAYING ON TWITTER