Traders, cycling clubs, and politicians in Carmarthenshire are encouraging the public to support the Tour of Britain bike race when it zips through the county.

The 120 riders and their teams set off from Pembrey Country Park on September 2 on day one of the televised week-long event. The county will be very much in the spotlight as the 175km stage takes in Kidwelly, Carmarthen and Llandovery, among other towns and villages, before continuing east through Brecon and down to Newport.

Tour de France stage winners, plus world and Olympic champions, are expected to take part. Paul Rees, former chairman of Bynea Cycling Club, said: “This is pretty historic. It’s certainly the biggest race in the country.”

Carmarthenshire Council chiefs have previously expressed delight that Pembrey Country Park, which will be home to a new closed circuit track, was chosen as the site of the race’s grand depart. They want the county to become the cycling hub of Wales and have invested in the redeveloped Carmarthen Velodrome and new Towy Valley Path, which is under construction.

Mr Rees said the 2018 OVO Energy Tour of Britain race was only one level below the Tour de France and the sport’s other two grand tour events — the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a Espana. He said he had ridden most of the 175km route at various times and reckoned the climbs at Bethlehem Hill and Defynnog would be a challenge for the sprinters at least.

He added: “I think most of the cycling club will be down there on the day at some point. “And I would urge people to come and see the spectacle of a big bike race.” Allan Stather, the owner of Penygawse tea rooms and guesthouse, Llandovery, said he looked forward to the 1,140km race coming through the town.

“Anything that draws more people to the town, which it invariably will, is a positive thing,” he said. Mr Stather said his premises had become a stopping-off point for cyclists in search of a caffeine hit.

“The number of cyclists we are seeing is increasing,” he said. “They use Twitter to tell each other about coffee stops.” Of the 175km stage, he said: “I wouldn’t fancy driving it, let alone cycling it!”

Councillor Peter Hughes Griffiths, executive board member for culture, sport and tourism, has visited the 14 town and community councils the stage passes along, encouraging them to put on events. Llangadog councillor Andrew James said meetings were being held with the community council and Llangadog Community Association in the next fortnight to discuss ways of supporting the race, such as putting out bunting and laying on teas and coffees for spectators.

“We are excited,” he said. “It’s a major event and there are lots of advantages and spin-offs.”