Preparations in full swing for Tour’s return to Knowsley

Published on: Wednesday, 30-July-2014

Rapha Condor JLT’s Mike Cuming joins in the preparations at Knowsley Safari

Knowsley will once again host the Friends Life Tour of Britain, the UK’s biggest professional cycle race, for a third successive year, with Knowsley Safari the venue for the Stage Two Start on Monday, 8 September.

Cuming, who won the Tour of Korea in 2013 and has twice before ridden the Tour of Britain joined staff from Knowsley Safari on Monday to help prepare some of the residents for their big day in September.

The Rapha Condor JLT rider joined keepers as they showered the elephants for the day ahead, as well as mucking out their enclosure and helping with the morning feed.

Commenting on his unusual start to the day, Mike said; "I'm particularly looking forward to the Stage Two race starting at Knowsley Safari, you can't ask for a nicer setting.

"The speed we ride at doesn't give us much time to check out the animals here, so today I've been helping the elephant keepers to muck out and shower the elephants, to help them get ready for the day - slightly unusual training in my preparations for the Friends Life Tour of Britain."

With the current warm weather, Mike’s duties in washing the elephants take on extra importance, as Knowsley Safari Elephant Keeper, Stephen Cunningham explains: "This is an essential part of animal husbandry. A full shower is needed every morning to allow the keepers to give the elephants a full body health check and encourages them to apply mud to their bodies in the habitat, preparing them for the hot day ahead."

Following the opening stage of the race entirely within Liverpool, Stage Two will see riders departing from Knowsley Safari at 10.15am for the 201-kilometre stage to Llandudno.

After departing Knowsley Safari, and turning left along Prescot bypass, right onto St Helens Road, right onto High Street, left onto Church Street, through Market Place, onto Sewell Street, Cables Way, Carr Lane and left onto Huyton Lane.  It will then travel along Archway Road, turning left onto Tarbock Road where racing will commence at the 0-kilometre marker.

Turning right onto Whitefield Lane riders will then travel along Netherley Road, turn left onto Water Lane, continuing onto Alder Lane, turning right onto Cronton Road, travelling into Halton, and the opening YodelDirect Sprint in Widnes, before a spectacular crossing of the River Mersey via the Silver Jubilee Bridge.

If the Tour has inspired you to get on your bike, then Knowsley is the place to be! With an outdoor velodrome and BMX track at Knowsley Leisure and Culture Park, an extensive Sky Ride Local programme offering free guided bike rides throughout the borough and the Pedal Away project aimed at getting adults introduced to cycling, there are a number of ways to get cycling in Knowsley, whether you are a complete novice or an experienced cyclist. Find out more at