If you were tuned in to Radio Four’s Today programme this morning then you might have caught Bradley Wiggens playing down his prospects for the Tour of Britain this week. After a few years’ hiatus due to lack of funding, Britain’s own Tour is back for 2005, but this time with a line-up that includes first and second division teams, as well as national teams from Wales, Scotland, Ireland, and incongruously, Great Britain.
If you’ve missed details of the Tour then you’re obviously new to RCUK. Just to recap, it’s a five-day tour, starting today in Manchester and culminating in a Westminster criterium on Sunday. The several pro teams taking part include: U.S. Postal, Lotto-Domo, CSC, Credit Agricole and T-Mobile. There’ll be star status provided by the likes of Andreas Klöden, Axel Merkx, Tom Boonen and José Azevedo, and the homegrown talent of Roger Hammond and Bradley Wiggens.
While domestic media attention is focussing on returning triple medallist Bradley Wiggens, with his gold, silver and bronze haul from the Athenian track, it’s Roger Hammond who’s got the reputation for producing the goods in road races – like his seventh-place finish in the Road race in Athens.
What’s sure is that it’s a great line-up for a Tour of Britain relaunch, and it’s got to be well worth following. There’ll be local and national BBC coverage, and plenty of chance to get down there yourself and spectate – see our article below for tips on the best vantage points.
Today’s stage takes in: Bury (10.52am), Ramsbottom (11.04am), Haslingden, Accrington, Sabden (11.42am), Nick of Pendle, Clithero, Longridge, Broughton (12.36pm), Elswick (12.53pm), Yeadon Way A587 (1.19pm), Blackpool South Shore, Lytham St. Annes (1.39pm), Freckleton, Preston (2.08pm), Chorley (2.20pm), Belmont, Chapeltown (2.52pm), Bury (2.59pm) and finishes at Urbis in Corporation Street, Manchester.