Bolton residents are being encouraged to put their ‘art and soul’ into shouting about why they love Bolton when Britain’s most prestigious international cycle race passes through the borough.
The OVO Energy Tour of Britain route takes in Bromley Cross, Horwich and Blackrod on its exciting final day on September 14.
Organisers have launched a National Land Art competition and want communities, schools, clubs, businesses and land owners to come up with eye-catching creations to support the race.
These masterpieces installed on land along the route will be beamed to more than 120 countries during the live TV coverage.
And Leader of Bolton Council, Cllr David Greenhalgh believes it will be the perfect opportunity for people to say ‘I Love Bolton Because…’ through their own eye-catching artwork.
He said: “It is wonderful that the Tour of Britain is coming through Bolton and we know our residents will line the route and cheer on the competitors.
“However, we also want to show the world how creative we are and it would be fantastic if people could produce some art in the fields and gardens along the route around the ‘I Love Bolton Because…’ campaign theme.”
To enter the competition, fill an online form in (https://www.tourofbritain.co.uk/community/land-art) with details of your planned land art creation by August 31.
The ‘I Love Bolton Because…’ campaign was launched in May by the ‘Big Up Bolton’ group, led by the Bolton Vision Partnership.
People are being invited to share why they love the town, as part of the campaign which also aims to refresh Bolton’s brand identity and encourage a positive perception of the town.
It has received an overwhelming response so far. Many have completed the form at www.thisisbolton.org, as well as joining the conversation through social media.
Messages have also been written on three giant letter ‘B's, created to support the campaign.
Dave Singleton, Chair of the Bolton Vision Strategic Partnership, said: “People have been very keen to tell us what the love about Bolton and it is great to hear so much positivity.
“It would be fantastic to get as many people along the Bolton stage of the route to come up with some ideas of how to express that in art and hopefully be seen all over the world.”
There were more than 50 entries in last year’s Tour of Britain’s inaugural National Land Art competition.
It was won by group of North Devon farmers, whose giant bike creation, which comprised 19 tractors, 16 all-terrain vehicles, a 13-tonne excavator and one slurry tanker wrapped in plastic, impressively featured moving wheels, pedals and chain.
While creating land art masterpieces along the route has long been a Tour of Britain tradition, as well as other cycle races around the world, the idea behind the competition stems from the creativity of Nottinghamshire farmer Des Allen.
His sheep-based land art design, which was aired live during the event’s ITV4 coverage and broadcast around the world to over 120 countries, went viral during the 2017 race.
Tour of Britain Race Director and British former cyclist Mick Bennett said: “I’m already looking forward to seeing the roadside creations that will decorate the eight stages that form this year’s race route.”
A panel comprising Mick Bennett, ITV4 presenter Rebecca Charlton and representatives from race organiser SweetSpot will decide the top three pieces of art.
The winner will receive a trophy and commemorative Tour of Britain prizes, presented by Mick Bennett, while the runner-up and third-place finisher will also take home trophies for their efforts.
It is the first time in 15 years that the Tour of Britain cyclists will ride through the region.
The race features eight stages and starts on September 7 in Glasgow, finishing in Deansgate, Manchester city centre on September 14.