THE 2018 OVO ENERGY Tour of Britain will begin in South Wales for the first time today (Sept 2) as Carmarthenshire and Newport host the opening stage of the Tour of Britain.
It will mark the first time that the race has visited Carmarthenshire with the county set to welcome the strongest ever line-up in race history, with reigning Tour de France and Giro d’Italia champions Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome competing for Team Sky.
The city of Newport last hosted the Tour of Britain in 2004, while the final stage of the 2017 race passed through the city on its way to the overall finish in Cardiff.
The first stage of Britain’s biggest professional cycle race will be put under starter’s orders by Finance Secretary, Mark Drakeford. Speaking ahead of the race, Professor Drakeford said;
“I am delighted to be opening the first stage of this iconic race. Pembrey Country Park is an impressive venue for the Grand Depart, not only because it is a very popular visitor attraction but also because it has recently invested in cycling facilities, including the first national closed road circuit in south Wales.”
“The Tour of Britain has become a key event in the Welsh sporting calendar and I am pleased that the Welsh Government has been able to support this event once again this year.
“The Welsh public has always given the cyclists a really warm Welsh welcome and I’m sure that with Geraint Thomas amongst the starting line-up, people from across south Wales will come out to support the cyclists as they travel from Carmarthenshire to Newport on the first day of the race.”
Leader of Carmarthenshire County Council, Cllr Emlyn Dole, said: “We are delighted to be hosting Stage One of the Tour of Britain in Carmarthenshire for the very first time. We have made no secret of our ambition to become the Cycling Hub of Wales and this prestigious event coincides with a huge investment to cycling infrastructure in Carmarthenshire, including off road tracks and circuits, active travel routes and cycling trails.
“This event seals Carmarthenshire’s reputation not only as a growing visitor destination, but also as a first-class location for major events.
“We are overwhelmed by the huge support we have had in recent weeks and especially grateful to our communities who have worked together to give riders and visitors the warmest of welcomes.”
Councillor Debbie Wilcox, Leader of Newport City Council, said: “We are looking forward to welcoming the Tour to Newport and cheering them across the finish line of stage one on the first day.
“Newport boasts such a diverse landscape which lends itself perfectly to events such as the Tour – from flat, urban routes to challenging climbs and descents through beautiful countryside. I’m sure the cyclists, supporters and spectators alike will enjoy the leg and their time in our city.”
Race Director Mick Bennett said: “Following the fantastic victory of Geraint Thomas in the Tour de France this Summer it is fitting that we can welcome him, along with the reigning Giro d’Italia champion Chris Froome, to the opening stage of this year’s OVO Energy Tour of Britain in Wales. We are looking forward to our first every visit to Carmarthenshire and think it will be a very special occasion for everyone involved with activities planned across the route to celebrate the occasion.
“In this of all years it is fitting that we finish our opening stage in Newport, the home of Welsh Cycling, and are looking forward to an exciting finish on Usk Way in the city.”
Welsh Cycling CEO, Anne Adams-King said: “Welsh Cycling is pleased that Wales is hosting the Grand Depart for the 2018 OVO Energy Tour of Britain profiling our beautiful countryside and showcasing the City of Newport town centre.
“It’s fantastic for people to see four welsh riders in the peloton alongside some of the best riders in pro-cycling. An exciting start to the tour that will inspire a generation of youngsters to experience cycling.”
The OVO Energy Tour of Britain is British Cycling’s premier road cycling event, giving cycling fans the opportunity to see the world’s best teams and riders competing on their door step, taking place between Sunday 2 and Sunday 9 September 2018.
Police report finds no ‘major shortcomings’ in use of force
DYFED-POWYS POLICE and Crime Commissioner, Dafydd Llywelyn, has conducted a review of police officers’ use of force, and is assured that there are no major shortcomings.
The full report on the review of the use of force will be shared with local Police and Crime Panel members at their public meeting today (Nov 16).
This scrutiny review signifies a new, enhanced approach to the Commissioner’s continued commitment to holding the Force to account, for the delivery of an efficient and effective police service for the residents of Dyfed-Powys.
Sparked by national requirements to improve transparency around officers’ conduct, recent controversy around the introduction of spit and bite guards, and feedback from the inspectorate, the review involved consultation with the public, officers and staff, independent scrutiny of incident footage and a detailed review of available data.
Police and Crime Commissioner, Dafydd Llywelyn said: “I have been encouraged by the Force’s response to my office undertaking this work, and thank all those who contributed honestly and thoroughly to the review. I would also like to thank the members of the public who were willing to share their views with us, through my online survey and in person at the various events my team and I have attended over the summer months.”
Whilst the review found no significant concern to suggest that force is being used inappropriately by officers, it was identified that under-recording and limitations in the current systems require some improvement.
A series of recommendations have been accepted by the Chief Constable, Mark Collins, who has detailed the Force’s planned course of action in a formal response to the Commissioner.
The Commissioner’s office will use this action plan to review the Force’s progress over the coming months.
Superintendent Craig Templeton, Head of Operations, said: “We welcome this scrutiny by the Police and Crime Commissioner and accept there are improvements to be made. Work has already started to address the recommendations, including changes to the Use of Force recording system and introducing Body Worn Video, to make scrutiny easier. We are confident force is used legitimately in Dyfed-Powys Police and will continue working towards achieving accurate recording.”
The Commissioner is committed to continuing this approach and will be looking for the public to get involved in future engagements and consultations, details of which will be available on the Commissioner’s website, or through contact with the office.
Tributes paid to woman following Lampeter death
TRIBUTES have been paid to a woman who died after she was assaulted in a town centre on Thursday (Nov 8).
The woman was taken to hospital with serious injuries following the attack in the Bridge Street area of Lampeter, Ceredigion. The incident happened at approximately 6pm.
Dyfed-Powys Police have formally identified her 39-year-oldold Katarzyna Elzbieta Paszek.
Her family said in a tribute: “As a family we are distraught by our loss of Katarzyna who was 39 and from Lampeter area. She was a loving mother, daughter, sister and aunt and was loved by so many.
“We would now like time to grieve and would ask to be given privacy in which to do so.”
Two of the four men who were originally arrested in connection with the assault have been released with no further action.
A 40-year-old man remains in custody and a 27-year-old man has been released on bail.
Det Ch Insp Anthony Evans said: “This is now a murder enquiry and I am appealing to anyone with information that could help the investigation, no matter how insignificant you may feel it is, please get in touch.
“I would like to reassure the public that we are not looking for anyone else in connection with the incident.”
H.M Coroner has been informed, the police have confirmed.
Four men from the Lampeter area were arrested in connection with the incident.
A 40-year-old man remains in police custody. A 27-year-old man has been released on police bail.
A 31-year-old man has been released with no further action, and a 37-year-old man has been released with no further action.
The police said that anyone with information that can help officers with their investigation is asked to report it by calling 101. If you are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908.
Three teenagers accused of ‘trashing’ caravan park
THREE teenagers appeared at Swansea Crown Court this week accused of ‘trashing’ a caravan complex in Llandeilo.
Maximilliam Langford, aged 19, Daniel Sieuw, 18, and James Wright, 19, were before Judge Keith Thomas for a plea and trial preparation hearing.
Paul Hobson, prosecuting, said it was his case that the three had been involved in a joint enterprise to wreck caravans and other buildings, some of them used as dwellings.
Langford, of Heol y Garreg Las, Llandeilo, admitted burgling a log cabin and four caravans at Taylors Wood, Gwynfe Road, on May 2 last year.
He also admitted damaging a 4×4 vehicle belonging to Roy Taylor and a ‘military style vehicle’, also belonging to Mr Taylor.
Langford denied setting fire to a caravan owned by Lawrence Good and a caravan owned by Barry John Smith.
Wright, of Rhydfro, Llangadog, denied the burglaries and the charges of criminal damage but admitted the two charges of arson.
Sieuw, of Bryngwyn, Llandeilo, denied all nine charges.
Mr Hobson said the prosecution would proceed against the defendants on all the outstanding charges.
Judge Thomas laid down January 29 as the start date of a three-day trial.
All three were granted bail meanwhile.
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