The Tour of Britain completed its eight-day journey in the centre of Liverpool on 14 September, with organisers claiming a record audience at the roadside, on TV and on the official race website.
People watched along the roadside and gathered at each day’s stage start and finish locations, although no figures have been released for the total number of spectators.
“We’ve had amazing crowds right the way along the route, from London to Liverpool this year, despite not having had the best of weather at times,” said Tour of Britain chief executive, Hugh Roberts.
“We’ve been delighted with the performance of the Tour of Britain in its debut year on ITV4,” said Mark Sharman, director of ITV News and Sport.
Local ITV and BBC stations also covered each stage of the race and there was radio coverage from BBC 5 Live, as well as local stations.
Organisers have claimed a record audience online as well, with the official tour website recording over twice as many unique visits as last year.
Here on BikeRadar, our pageviews increased sixfold during our coverage of the tour. Results at Cycling News were also very strong, with half a million page views registered.
Green jersey holder and winner of stage two in Newbury, Australian Matt Goss, was complimentary about the tour: “I’ve certainly enjoyed it – it’d be pretty hard not to! This year’s been great and although the weather wasn’t very nice, it’s still a great race and very competitive.”
Alessandro Petacchi won stages in London, Newcastle and Liverpool. He too was impressed on his Tour of Britain debut:
“I liked the Tour of Britain because it suited my style and I had lots of chances to win stages. I liked the stages, the aggressive racing and high speeds. It’s a really high level race.”
Petacchi’s teammate, Danilo Di Luca, took the E.ON King of the Mountains jersey following an aggressive performance in the race.
“It’s the first time I’ve ridden the Tour of Britain,” he said, “but it’s a good, hard race. Each stage has been difficult, with plenty of climbs. The only thing missing has been a mountaintop finish, but it’s the perfect terrain to train on for the World Championships”.
Di Luca missed out on selection for the Italian World Championship team, but several other riders from the Tour of Britain will be in action at the end of the month. Second and third placed riders Steve Cummings and Ian Stannard have both been selected to be part of the Great Britain team following their performances last week.
Tour of Britain 2008 – the stages
- 7 September – Stage 1 – London Circuit
- 8 September – Stage 2 – Milton Keynes to Newbury
- 9 September – Stage 3 – Chard to Burnham-on-Sea
- 10 September – Stage 4 – Worcester to Stoke-on-Trent
- 11 September – Stage 5 – Hull to DalbyForest
- 12 September – Stage 6 – Darlington to NewcastleGateshead
- 13 September – Stage 7 – Glasgow Green to DrumlanrigCastle
- 14 September – Stage 8 – Blackpool to Liverpool