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Tour of Britain 2013: "most challenging route yet" unveiled

08:21 22nd March 2013 by Timothy John
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The route of the 2013 Tour of Britain has been unveiled with a pledge that it will be the most challenging yet.

A 10-mile time trial and the first summit finish in the 10-year history of the modern Tour are among the highlights of a parcours that will finish on Whitehall, seven days and eight stages after the race begins in Scotland on Sunday September 15.

Race director, Mick Bennett, said: “It’s a tough and challenging route and one that will reward riders who go on the attack from day one.”

“Hard” was the first word on the lips of many of Britain’s top riders when asked by RoadCyclingUK to give their reaction to the course at a slick launch event in central London.

Stage one (201km) – Peebles to Drumlanrig Castle, Scotland – Sunday September 15

The opening stage of the Tour of Britain will be held in Scotland for the first time in 2013, a stage described by Bennett as “perfect for the opening leg”.

Stage one, Tour of Britain 2013, ©Sweetspot

Stage one, Tour of Britain 2013, ©Sweetspot

The Grand Depart will take place in Peebles, in the Scottish borders, sending the riders on a 201km route along the Galloway coast, before heading north through Dumfries to Drumlanrig Castle, where a 20km finishing circuit will allow spectators to see the riders pass twice.

Stage two (225km) – Carlisle to Kendal – Monday September 16

Bennett warned the riders who attended the launch that the 225km stage from Carlisle to Kendal would be the “longest and most grueling stage” in the history of the modern Tour.

Stage two, Tour of Britain 2013, ©Sweetspot

Stage two, Tour of Britain 2013, ©Sweetspot

The 225km route will take the riders through the heart of Cumbria and the Lake District, past the lakes of Windermere, Coniston, and Derwent Water. “Swallows and Amazons this won’t be,” said Bennett.

Hoinster Pass, in the middle of the stage, has gradients that peak at 25 per cent. Bennett promised “a relentless series of climbs,” in the latter half of the stage.

“We’ll be looking to reshape general classification following this stage,” he said.

Stage three (16km) – Knowsley time trial – Tuesday September 17

The longest individual time trial in the history of the modern Tour of Britain, the third stage will be a 10-mile test, one described Bennett as a “classic British time trial distance, allowing fans to compare their times to the world’s best.”

Stage three, Tour of Britain 2013, ©Sweetspot

Stage three, Tour of Britain 2013, ©Sweetspot

The flat, 16km circuit will start and finish in Knowsley Safari Park, and includes a section in the grounds of Knowsley Hall.

Stage four (190.9km) – Stoke-on-Trent to Llanberis – Wednesday September 18

Stoke-on-Trent will host the Tour of Britain for the sixth time, sending the riders west on a 190.9km parcours through Staffordshire and Shropshire, into Wales.

Stage Four, Tour of Britain 2013, ©Sweetspot

Stage Four, Tour of Britain 2013, ©Sweetspot

Once across the border, the riders will pass through the heart of Snowdonia, to a finish boasting the 1,085-metre peak of Snowdon as a backdrop. “The television pictures, believe me, will be truly amazing,” said Bennett.

Stage five (177.1km) – Machynlleth to Caerphilly – Thursday September 19

Last year’s unforgettable scenes on Caerphilly Mountain, where eventual winner, Jonathan Tiernan-Locke, seized control of the race, could be repeated this year, with the traditional dual-ascent of the 271-metre climb.

Stage five, Tour of Britain 2013, ©Sweetspot

Stage five, Tour of Britain 2013, ©Sweetspot

Bennett promised the riders would tackle “new and very picturesque roads” on a route through Builth Wells, before hitting familiar territory in the Brecon Beacons, en route to Caerphilly Mountain.

Stage six (137km) – Sidmouth to Haytor, Dartmoor – Friday September 20

Last year’s visit to Devon was widely considered the toughest of the 2012 Tour of Britain, and the county will host the first summit finish of the race’s modern era.

Stage six, Tour of Britain 2013, ©Sweetspot

Stage six, Tour of Britain 2013, ©Sweetspot

A six kilometre climb into Haytor will provide the climax to a “short and punchy stage with a sting in the tail,” described by Bennett as one of the talking points of the 2013 edition. He praised the “phenomenal crowds” that had greeted the last Tour of Britain’s last two visits to Devon and said the riders could expect “a brilliant reception” on this year’s final climb.

Stage seven (150.4km) – Epsom to Guildford – Saturday September 21

The finale of last year’s race, a finish in Guildford, won by Mark Cavendish, will become the penultimate stage of the 2013 edition. Bennett said the scale of the crowds on Guildford’s High Street, estimated at nearly 60,000, as “absolutely terrifying”.

Stage seven, Tour of Britain 2013, ©Sweetspot

Stage seven, Tour of Britain 2013, ©Sweetspot

Riders will again tackle the Surrey Hills, including Leith Hill and Barhatch Lane, where Wouter Sybrandy (IG-Sigma Sport) suffered a horrendous crash last year. Mention of the Dutchman’s recovery sparked spontaneous applause from the 250 guests at the launch, and Bennett invited him to the stage.

Stage eight (88km) – London – Sunday September 22, 2013

After a year’s absence, enforced by the London Olympic Games, the Tour of Britain will return to its traditional final location, with 10 laps of a city centre route that starts and finishes on Whitehall, but this year will stretch as far as Tower Bridge. Bennett described the circuit as “iconic”.

Stage eight, Tour of Britain 2013, ©Sweetspot

Stage eight, Tour of Britain 2013, London, ©Sweetspot

A women’s race, expected to attract the world’s top female teams, will be held before the final stage. Bennett pledged that the best domestic women’s teams would be invited to race.

Discuss in the forum

Tour of Britain

  1. John Smith

    Nothing for the East of England, again ..
    many will watch the Vuelta instead!

  2. Neil Wardill

    I agree with John, there is a north east in England and an east coast of Scotland

  3. James Whyley

    Why no Yorkshire stage again? Especially with what is happening a year later. Surely it would be a good idea to test run a stage?

  4. Dick Thomas

    Well you’re welcome to it as far as I’m concerned. We are faced here with three road closures in July, August and September for various cycle races. This means that we will not be able to get out of houses on those days – nice of the cyclists to ruin our weekends.

  5. bike pixi

    @ Dick, why are you looking at a cycling website if all you are going to do is complain? Why don’t you:

    go away for the weekend,
    go for a bike ride yourself,
    go for a bike ride, with a picnic to a nice spot on the route and cheer on the cyclists,
    get involved in the rides and help out?

    I’m sure that you are not going to be confined to your houses and the events will bring more trade and more people into the area which is good for the economy. Stop whinging and look on the bright side.

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