Eight years since its inception, the Tour of Britain continues to grow. With the strongest field yet assembled, and a testing parcours criss-crossing Scotland, Wales and England over nine stages, the race has definitely matured.
Confirming the potential of the Tour as a tune up event ahead of the World Championships, some truly testing stages brought out some mighty performances from the men in form. Two wins each for Mark Cavendish and Lars Boom, and one from current World Champion Thor Hushovd gave the supportive fans world class talent in depth to cheer.
The weather of course played its part. Stage 1 in Scotland was wet and stormy, whilst stage 2 was cancelled due to the tail end of a hurricane blowing waves across the finish straight in Blackpool and demolishing the gantries. From there on the weather relented, and the race was characterised by some fantastic sprinting and climbing performances from Pieter Ghyllebert and Jonathon Tiernan Locke, who won their respective classifications. The British hills surprised many and made the race one for the strong men.
As the stages passed, one man proved to be a match for the terrain and had the measure of his rivals. Former World cyclo-cross Champion Lars Boom rode a perfect race to take the win on his first trip to the UK, and add further gloss to an ever improving event.