This article was originally published on Cyclingnews.com.
The 2013 Tour of Britain will feature the race’s first summit finish, a 16km time trial in a safari park, and – another first for the event – a women's race preceding the men’s final stage and following the same route round the streets of London.
The eight-day race, celebrating its 10th anniversary in its modern incarnation, continues to build upon the assertion that it gets ever harder. This year’s centrepiece is the 6km climb on day six, to Haytor on Dartmoor – billed as the ‘sting in the tail’ by race director Mick Bennett at yesterday’s launch.
The UCI-ranked 2.1 event – the shortest it’s been since becoming an eight-day competition, at 1,045km – starts on 15 September in Peebles, on the Scottish Borders. It will finish with an 88km city circuit centred on Whitehall, London, on 22 September. The race will take in tough terrain in the Lake District on stage 2 – also the longest day at 225km – as well as visiting Wales, the South West and the leafy lanes of Surrey.
For the first time, the race will also visit Snowdonia, with a finish in Llanberis on stage 4. Perennial host towns include Caerphilly in Wales, Stoke-on-Trent in the Midlands and Guildford in Surrey, where world champion Mark Cavendish won in front of large crowds last year.
The final day will feature a women’s race in London, ahead of the men’s finale. Bennett said: “Ahead of the stage we will be putting on an international women’s bike race, providing a great showcase for this country’s top female cyclists in this great city. We hope many of the UCI’s women’s teams will take this opportunity to race on such an iconic circuit in front of what can only be assumed as being big crowds.”
Bennett said the two opening stages – both more than 200km long – and mid-race time trial at Knowsley Safari Park, Merseyside, would be a tough test for the riders: “There are flashpoints on virtually every stage,” he said.
“The change for us is that we usually put two relatively flat, easier stages at the beginning of the tour. This second day, finishing at Kendal and going up Honister Pass and all that, makes it a very difficult day – and then there’s a 10-mile time trial to follow it. The flashpoint for me would be how they all come out of stage two,” Bennett said.
Team NetApp Endura’s Russell Downing agreed the men’s tour promises to be tough: “Some of those days down in Wales – not only are you going up, you’re staying up on the top.
“The stage to Haytor – that’s a hard one because we’ve never had a summit finish. Not only are they long days, those roads are dead – they’re not like European roads. And then there’s the weather… Ten years on, it shows where the Tour of Britain’s come from that it’s bigger and better than ever.”
Last year, the race, resurrected in 2004 by organisers SweetSpot, had its first British winner in Jonathan Tiernan-Locke riding for Endura Racing. For more information see the Tour of Britain website.
- Stage 1, 15 September, Peebles - Drumlanrig Castle, 201km
- Stage 2, 16 September, Carlisle - Kendal, 225km
- Stage 3, 17 September, Knowsley Individual TT, 16km
- Stage 4, 18 September, Stoke-on-Trent - Llanberis, 191km
- Stage 5, 19 September, Machynlleth - Caerphilly, 177km
- Stage 6, 20 September, Sidmouth - Haytor, 137km
- Stage 7, 21 September, Epsom - Guildford, 150km
- Stage 8, 22 September, London circuit, 88km