Tour le triumph

ONWARD AND UPWARD: Three-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome leads the chasing pack on the final ascent to Falls Creek on Thursday. More pictures Pages 6 & 7.PHOTO: Jean-Pierre Ronco

TOURISM experts expect the Alpine region to claim the title as the national capital for bike riders in the wake of last week’s Herald Sun Tour.

They say an exponential growth in cycle tourism in the past decade shows no sign of slowing down and the Tour with its three-time Tour De France headline act Chris Froome is only expected to add further to the boom.

Spectators and school children lined the sides of the road on the opening stage on Thursday as the field of more than 100 riders travelled 170km from Wangaratta to the top of Falls Creek.

The crowd of about 300 at the finish line in the alpine resort prompted cycling commentator Phil Liggett to draw comparisons with the famous French tour.

Similar scenes were repeated the following day at the start of another almost 200km ride from Mt Beauty to Beechworth, including a gruelling climb up the Myrtleford to Stanley Road toward the stage finish line.

Tourism North East marketing manager Susannah Doyle said you couldn’t afford to buy that media exposure.

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