Route plans for the prestigious Aviva Tour of Britain cycle race have been announced today, including details of the two stages in Northumberland.
For Stage Four, the race will start in Scotland and then enter Northumberland heading along a route from Ford, where a SKODA King of the Mountains competition will take place, to Wooler and Alnwick, before continuing down the coast to finish the leg in Blyth.
The tour restarts the following morning from Prudhoe with Stage Five, where the race will include a YodelDirect Sprint that will take place in Hexham and a SKODA King of the Mountains climb from Haydon Bridge to Hadrian’s Wall, the race will then head across the Pennines into Cumbria before ending in a summit finish on Hartside Fell.
The eight-stage race runs from September 6 to 13, with the Northumberland stages taking place on Wednesday and Thursday, September 9 and 10.
Northumberland County Council has worked with Active Northumberland, sponsors Northumbrian Water and race organisers SweetSpot to bring the race to Northumberland.
Grant Davey, leader of Northumberland County Council, said: “The race will be a celebration of Northumberland which is a fabulous place to live in, visit and to cycle in. It will showcase our communities, heritage and iconic landmarks and it is a chance for us all to enjoy a wonderful international sporting spectacle.”
Some of the world’s top cyclists are expected to turn up to compete. Last year, the UK’s favourites Sir Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish were both in the 120-rider starting line-up.
Race director Mick Bennett said: “We are delighted to be bringing the Aviva Tour of Britain back to the North East and hosting both a start and finish in Northumberland for the first time. Stages Four and Five both travel through some fantastic scenery that we look forward to showcasing with the race and hope to see big crowds lining the roadside this September.”
The routes are being announced at the Northumberland Sainsbury’s School Games Festivals today where 2,000 young people will be competing to become county champions in a range of sports. Professional cyclists from the Tour will be there to coach pupils interested in cycling.
Cramlington Sporting Club is hosting the event, and Marie-Anne Dowson, school sport partnership manager from the Cramlington & Seaton Valley School Sport Partnership, said: “It is great that we can bring the launch of the Tour of Britain to the Northumberland School Games.
“Young people across Northumberland have competed in local competitions to reach these finals, so it’s a very exciting day. Having the pro-tour cyclists here is a great opportunity for the students to learn what it takes to be successful in sport and it’s a great way to inspire the next generation of stars.”
The School Games is part of a national Sport England programme designed to increase competitive opportunities for young people in school. The School Games Organisers include Northumberland Sport and national governing bodies of sport.
The Tour will be broadcast in over 166 countries, including live coverage on the ITV network, and will raise the profile of the county to an international audience. ITV will screen three hours of live coverage of every stage, starting on ITV for the opening Wales stage before reverting to ITV4 for Stages Two to Eight. ITV4 will also screen a one-hour highlights programme each evening during the race.
The race will go through 29 communities in Northumberland over the two days, covering approximately 112miles (181kms) in the county over two days of racing.
Northumberland has a strong network of cycling clubs and events, from mass participation sportifs, such as the Virgin Money Cyclone in the south of the county,to the Wooler Wheel in the north, professional races, such as the Tour of the Reservoir and Beaumont Trophy, and spectacular long-distance cycle paths including the C2C and the Sandstone Way.
For more information, visit www.tourofbritain.co.uk