The Tour of Britain has passed through the valley at different locations a number of times in recent years.
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This year, the stage cut across the Churnet in a number of places, including at Rocester and Cheddleton, where I stationed myself with my camera. Four men had formed a breakaway, in these relatively early parts of the stage, but they were eventually caught by the peloton. The stage was finally won by Norway's Edvald Boasson Hagen, riding for Team Colombia.
This year, stage 2 cut across the Churnet at Rocester and Cheddleton, as it did in 2009. For a change, I stopped at Windy Harbour, above the valley, near Caldon, before returning to familiar ground in Cheddleton. An early breakaway was never caught and, from this group, New Zealand's Greg Henderson won the stage, riding for Team Sky.
This was a bit of a photographic disaster for me, having turned up at Rocester without my camera.
After nipping home, however, I was able to pick the race up south of Wetley Rocks on Bank Top Road.
The one or two breakaway attempts on this stage were all chased down by the peloton and The Netherlands' Lars Boom took the win in a sprint finish for Rabobank.
This year, the stage followed a revised route, heading through Alton and Oakamoor and up Star Bank, instead of through Ellastone and over Ramshorn.
An early breakaway of three riders was eventually caught by the chasing group, from which The Netherlands' Marc de Maar won the stage for United Healthcare, despite falling off with 9km to go.
On Friday September 11th, the tour returned to the valley after a two-year break, passing through Leek on its way from Stoke-on-Trent to Nottingham. I picked up the race just outside Meerbrook, at Tittesworth Reservoir. At this point, the field had split into two main groups which were still relatively close together. By the finish, however, while only a few riders remained out ahead, the rest having been left half an hour behind. The stage was won in a close sprint by Matteo Trentin of Etixx-Quick Step, narrowly beating the yellow jersey and eventual tour winner, Edvald Boassen Hagen of MTN-Qhubeka.