PREMIER League referee Martin Atkinson was first out of the blocks when he cycled across the start line in the Whitehead Tour de Gwent in Caerleon today.

Decked out in the 2021 orange event jersey, the keen cyclist was at the head of the cyclists as they travelled out from Caerleon School across Gwent.

Mr Atkinson, 50, who rode 1,700 miles as part of the Whistle Stop Tour from England's Training ground in Staffordshire to Kalingrad, Russia, during the 2018 World Cup, was again raising funds in support of Newport's St David's Hospice Care.

The annual Whitehead Tour de Gwent, sponsored by Whitehead Building Services, attracts hundreds of riders and raises £1000's for St David's Hospice Care.

Mr Atkinson said: "The reason I am supporting St David’s Hospice Care is because of the wonderful work they continue to do to support so many people.

"Having visited the hospice and having seen firsthand the care they offer left me humbled by just how much impact they have on people’s lives." 

Newport headquartered Whitehead Building Services managing director, Rhys Morton, who as well as sponsoring the event took part, said: "We're thrilled to be able to stage the Tour de Gwent and to have Martin's support."

Event organiser Tania Ansell, of St David's Hospice Care, said: "We were thrilled that Martin was able to find time in his extremely busy schedule to support the hospice once more.

"I was honoured to be on the start line with Martin to help him to get the 2021 Whitehead Tour de Gwent underway."

The annual Whitehead Tour de Gwent offers cyclists a choice of six routes ranging from the hardcore 93-mile to the less demanding three mile 'kids' route.

Get your Argus on Thursday, September 16, for a spread of photos from the day.