Feature – One Month to Tour of Britain


A look at the 2014 Tour of Britain with the help of route master Andy Hawes from Sweetspot

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Feature – One Month to Tour of Britain

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The route for the 2014 Tour of Britain, the first to be run following the upgrade to 2.HC status, will include first visits for the modern Tour to both Bristol and Brighton, as well as a summit finish on ‘The Tumble’ in South Wales.

VeloUK takes a look at the race stage by stage with the help of Route Director Andy Hawes of Sweetspot.

• Liverpool, Bristol, Bath, Brighton and London all hosting stages of Tour
• Monmouthshire’s The Tumble to host mid-Tour summit finish on Stage Three
• Final day individual time trial on iconic central London circuit with Whitehall finish
• Expanded coverage, three-hours of live television coverage & highlights daily

STAGE 1 – Liverpool ‘Kermesse’
For the first time since 2008, Liverpool will host The Tour of Britain, with the opening stage consisting of a kermesse style course starting & finishing on The Strand, beneath the world-recognised skyline of the city’s Three Graces (inc. Royal Liver building).

Starting at 2.15pm and expected to finish around 4.45pm, the route is George’s Dock Gates, The Strand/Goree, Strand Street, Wapping, Chaloner Street, Parliament Street, Upper Parliament Street, Princes Road, Princes Avenue, Croxteth Road, Sefton Park Road, Croxteth Drive, Mossley Hill Drive, Aigburth Drive – the route then doubles back on itself and after eight laps of the 13 kilometre circuit, will finish on The Strand.


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It will be the fourth visit to the city for the Tour since it started in 2004 with the race finishing there in 2006 and 2008 and a stage start in 2007. Whilst it is expected to be a bunch finish to decide who the first stage winner will be, and who wears the Friends Life leaders jersey, the stage is anything but flat with three sprints (laps 3, 5 & 7) up a category 3 KoM climb deciding who will wear that jersey after the stage has finished.

VeloUK spoke to Route Director Andy Hawes back in March and talking about the race course overall he said “after winning the tender for the race, we had to look at the way the stages were spread out with the transfer distances uppermost in our minds. So we are getting to go to some brand new areas and letting the stages do the transfers for us.

For stage 1 says Andy “the riders will have a fully closed road circuit for this stage and the support from Liverpool City has been phenomenal. They really wanted to make it something special with the start and finish outside the Liver building”.

Stage Two, on Monday 8th September, will start from Knowsley, scene of Sir Bradley Wiggins’ time trial victory in the 2013 Tour, before heading across North Wales to a stage finishing with a lap of the Great Orme and a seafront sprint in Llandudno. Asked about this stage Andy says the last 20k of the stage are ‘stunning’ and will make great TV which will be live.


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This is the stage that the fans will love – the finish up the ‘Tumble’, a climb used so much in cycling events on the outskirts of Abergavenny. Andy explains the climb is a constant 10 per cent for six kilometres and so is tougher than Haytor which saw Simon Yates win the ‘summit’ finish there in 2013.

Andy explained how that the route from Newton in North Wales to the Tumble in the South uses a very different approach to the one used for a few years in getting from North to South Wales. The route will hug the English border in many places on its way south as the race uses some roads it hasn’t used before and will be testing explained Andy before adding that this doesn’t mean the race’s overall winner will be the winner of the stage.


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Worcester to Bristol is a very rolling stage says Andy which will kick up pretty severely to start with as the riders head towards Great Malvern up a 2nd category climb on roads last used in 2008 in the Tour. The finish of the stage is going to be fantastic says Andy with a surprise sting in its tale, a 2nd category climb that is sure to see some splits in the peloton even if it’s still a largish group sprinting it out!


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Exmouth to Exeter sees the Tour of Britain visiting Devon for the eighth consecutive year. Mick Bennett, Race Director of The Tour of Britain, said: “In returning to Exmouth and Exeter, we are re-treading the ground of one our most successful stages, which will bring back lots of happy memories of a memorable finish”.

“With the route around the Exe Estuary, across the Dartmoor National Park and into Exeter the stage is sure to be another spectacular day’s racing for spectators at the roadside, and fans at home watching on television.


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The riders will face three SKODA King of the Mountains climbs at Mamhead, Haytor, on Dartmoor, and Stoke Woods, on the outskirts of Exeter; that final one with just three kilometres of the stage remaining which continues the theme of not giving the sprinters an easy time of it. Even the run to the line isn’t easy and is like the one at Guildford without the cobbles. That’s the finish Mark Cavendish won the final stage last year.

Bath to Hemel Hempstead sees the race visit one of the country’s top tourist spots outside of London – the very historic city of Bath. The race has had brilliant support from the authorities there says Andy and the neutralised section he adds will make sure that all the riders see all the sights of the city before they are let loose onto the hilly outskirts and on towards a part of the country it hasn’t been to before.


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After the riders have seen all the big tourist hot spots in Bath, it’s onto Wiltshire and places like Devises before Oxfordshire (Didcot) and then to Buckinghamshire and the Chiltern Hills. This is part of the country that cycling used to be very much a part of with so many events including the Archer Grand Prix.

Hence, the stage is paying its own homage to events like that with the peloton climbing Chinnor Hill and Kop Hill before dropping down into Hertfordshire (Chesham) and into Hemel Hempstead. Having trained in the Chilterns when I had a racing career in Britain, this stage will be one I expect to enjoy on the motorbike (depending on the weather!) and whilst the climbs may not break the GC up, it will be no push over either.

Camberley to Brighton, the longest stage of the race, sees the race returning to Surrey before heading off to parts of the country that yet again it’s not been to before. The first 30 or so kilometres are Surrey and uses says Andy, some of the roads from the 2013 tour of Britain before heading into West Sussex. As we saw in Ride London, the roads in Surrey are tough enough to split a field up if there is the firepower on the front to make it happen.


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If not, then two first category climbs at the end of the stage should hurt some legs and see the GC contenders trying to open up some gaps. The views on this stage will, like so many other stages, provide the TV helicopter and those of us on the ground with opportunities for stunning images of the race. This is the stage which takes in well known places like ‘Beachy Head’ and Ditchling Beacon. The sting in the tail is the final climb only 8k from the finish before a spectacular finish on the sea front in Brighton. It’s a stage with the wow factor!

The final day sees the dreaded split stage – an eight kilometre time trial in the morning and then a kermesse in the afternoon on a tried and tested course in the heart of London. The same finish the race had in 2011 when Alex Dowsett stepped up onto the podium as winner of the time trial.


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Overall, Andy says “stages 4, 6 and 7 are tough and whilst it may not be the toughest Tour we’ve had, it will certainly give them something to race over”. Race Director Mick Bennett adds “with our toughest summit finish yet, an individual time trial in London and several longer stages, this year’s Tour of Britain has a varied and testing route that will present opportunities to a variety of riders.”

“The route will again showcase some fantastic scenery, and combine major British cities with charming and picturesque towns and villages, as well as testing climbs, all of which will make for a memorable Tour.”

The teams riding are listed below and so far, the only hint of the riders was Sky boss saying last years winner Bradley Wiggins may ride the race. In general, many of those who didn’t finish the Tour de France like Froome, Contador and Cavendish are down to ride the Tour of Spain. That will still leave plenty of other big names and here’s hoping on a crowded UCI calendar, they choose to come to Britain as their preparation for the World Championships.


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UCI Pro Teams
• Belkin Pro Cycling (NED)
• BMC Racing Team (USA)
• Garmin Sharp (USA)
• Movistar Team (SPA)
• Omega Pharma Quick-Step (BEL)
• Team Giant Shimano (NED)
• Team Sky (GBR)
• Tinkoff Saxo (RUS)

UCI Pro Continental Teams
• Bardiani CSF (ITA)
• IAM Cycling (SWI)
• MTN Qhubeka (RSA)
• Team NetApp Endura (Ger)
• Team Novo Nordisk (USA)

UCI Continental Teams
• AN Post Chain Reacton (IRL)
• Madison Genesis (GBR)
• NFTO Pro Cycling (GBR)
• Giordana Racing Team (GBR)
• Rapha Condor JLT (GBR)
• Team Raleigh (GBR)

National Teams
• Great Britain (GBR)

The Tour of Britain 2014
Stage One — Sunday 7 September Liverpool
Stage Two – Monday 8 September Knowsley to Llandudno
Stage Three – Tuesday 9 September Newtown to the Tumble
Stage Four – Wednesday 10 September Worcester to Bristol
Stage Five – Thursday 11 September Exmouth to Exeter
Stage Six – Friday 12 September Bath to Hemel Hempstead
Stage Seven – Saturday 13 September Camberley to Brighton
Stage Eight a – Sunday 14 September London individual time trial, presented by TfL
Stage Eight b – Sunday 14 September London circuit race, presented by TfL

British Eurosport Tour of Britain coverage

Sunday 7 September
13.15-16.30 – Live stage one on British Eurosport HD
00.00-01.00 – Stage one highlights on British Eurosport 2 HD

Monday 8 September
13.15-16.00 – Live stage two on British Eurosport HD
00.00-01.00 – Stage two highlights on British Eurosport HD

Tuesday 9 September
13.15-16.00 – Live stage three on British Eurosport HD
00.00-01.00 – Stage three highlights on British Eurosport HD

Wednesday 10 September
13.15-16.00 – Live stage four on British Eurosport HD
00.00-01.00 – Stage four highlights on British Eurosport HD

Thursday 11 September
13.15-16.00 – Live stage five on British Eurosport HD
00.00-01.00 – Stage five highlights on British Eurosport HD

Friday 12 September
13.15-16.00 – Live stage six on British Eurosport HD
00.00-01.00 – Stage six highlights on British Eurosport HD

Saturday 13 September
13.15-16.00 – Live stage seven on British Eurosport HD
00.00-01.00 – Stage seven highlights on British Eurosport HD

Sunday 14 September
15.45-18.15 – Live stage eight on British Eurosport HD
00.00-01.00 – Stage eight highlights on British Eurosport HD


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