Aerospace giant Airbus is to sponsor the Bristol stage of this year’s OVO Energy Tour of Britain – ‘the UK’s most prestigious road cycling event’.
Last week, Canyon Ersberg pro team riders Rory Townsend and Louis Rose-Davies joined members of the company’s Bicycle User Group (BUG) at its Filton production site, in northwest Bristol, which is just a few miles from where Stage Three will start and finish on Tuesday 4 September.
Simon Tomlinson, Head of BUG in Filton, said “There has been a Bicycle User Group at the Filton site for more than 20 years and we currently have about 900 employees on our group mailing list. Airbus is committed to encouraging bicycle use; and the Filton site has some of the best facilities for cyclists in the area including 850 covered cycle parking spaces along with dedicated staff changing rooms with showers, lockers, and drying facilities.”
Mark Stewart, Airbus General Manager and HR Director, added “Typically, we have 400 to 500 employees cycling to work in Filton each day and about 10% of the workforce travels to work by bicycle every day.
“With so many keen cyclists among our staff, it makes sense for Airbus to support Bikes for Work and this prestigious cycling race when it comes to Bristol for stage three.”
As well as organising various cycling events and initiatives, the Airbus BUG also provides staff with free safety accessories, such as hi-viz rucksack covers and waistcoats, free lights and puncture repair kits. Meanwhile, a mobile bicycle mechanic visits the site each month to carry out repairs and servicing, while specialist tools are available for staff to borrow to carry out their own repairs at home.
Canyon Eisberg rider Louis Rose-Davies, whose team will be riding the OVO Energy Tour of Britain next month, said “Thank you to Airbus for their support of Stage Three of this year’s OVO Energy Tour of Britain in Bristol. It was great to see a company that cares about the health and wellbeing of their employees, especially the investment in their on-site cycling facilities.”
His team-mate, and double Bristol Grand Prix winner, Rory Townsend, added “I’m looking forward to the Bristol stage of this year’s race. We have good history as a team racing in the city; and, with the closing kilometres of this stage being extremely challenging, we’re looking to use it as a launchpad for success.”
Stage Three of the OVO Energy Tour of Britain will cover 128 kilometres in a short and sharp stage that both starts and finishes at Ladies Mile on Clifton Down in Bristol. The route will take in both natural and man-made aspects of the area, climbing Cheddar Gorge in the Mendip Hills while also crossing the Clifton Suspension Bridge twice.
2018 will mark the third time that the free-to-attend OVO Energy Tour of Britain has visited Bristol since 2014.
Commenting on the news, Heath Harvey, Chief Executive of race organiser SweetSpot, said “We are delighted that Airbus have chosen to support the Bristol stage of the OVO Energy Tour of Britain. Not only are Airbus a world-leading brand, but also one that passionately supports and encourages their workforce in Bristol to cycle to work.
“We have seen first-hand the facilities in place at the Airbus Filton site for cyclists, which are incredible; and the fact that a significant portion of the workforce cycles to work daily is a testament to this. We hope that through our partnership we can reinforce the cycling credentials of Airbus and actively encourage more employees to get on their bike, but also show other companies the benefits from having a healthy and active workforce.”
The Bristol stage of the race will get underway at 11:30 BST on Tuesday 4 September, and include the likes of Clevedon, Cheddar and Midsomer Norton on the route, with an expected finish on Ladies Mile at around 14:30.
Live coverage of the entire stage will be shown on ITV4, with fans in Bristol having the opportunity to follow the action throughout via a big screen in the Tour Village, as well as having the opportunity to meet and engage with official sponsors, including Airbus, who will be present on the day.