THOUSANDS of spectators are expected to line Ledbury town centre this Sunday (September 10) to witness a thrilling sprint section of the Tour of Britain cycle race.

Whizzing by will be World, Olympic, European and National champions, including UK favourites Mark Cavendish, Geraint Thomas and Alex Dowsett, joined by international superstars Dan Martin, Elia Viviani and Michal Kwiatkowski.

Dozens of Ledbury shops will be open this Sunday for a spectacle which Alison Thomas, chairman of the Ledbury's Association, described as "a postive event for the town".

She said: "Hopefully, it's going to be massive. It's going to be a really big thing, as big as the Olympic torch procession in 2012."

Ledbury will witness just one of three sprint sections on the whole of the tour, and there will be TV coverage with ITV 4.

In total, around 120 riders will be taking part on the Worcester to Cardiff leg, a distance of 180km.

Thrillingly, the sprint section will take place on The Homend, much of which has been recently re-surfaced, although there is still a bumpy section from the Orchard Lane turn to near the train station.

The riders will leave Worcester at 11am and are expected to arrive for the intermediate sprint section in The Homend at 12.05pm.

They will then be passing through Trumpet on the Hereford Road at around 12.15pm; through Tarrington at 12.19pm, and Mordiford, at 12.29pm.

The news has being warmly welcomed by local people, who are very much looking forward to the one-off sporting spectacle.

Edward Clements of Cycles Clements in Ledbury said: "It's just brilliant.

"My dad actually took part in the first Brighton to Glasgow race in the late 1940s, which was the forerunner of the Tour of Britain. He was pretty good."

Town councillor and Homend trader, Annette Crowe said: "This is a fantastic thing for Ledbury. Apparently, when they do the sprint section, there are usually thousands of people watching.

"I just hope the road section from the Orchard Lane junction to the train station won't cause too many problems for them."

Ledbury's mayor, Cllr Elaine Fieldhouse said: "This is a one off and should be a really good day for Ledbury."