Many of the country’s top riders attended the unveiling of the route of the 2013 Tour of Britain at the London Transport Museum in Covent Garden yesterday.
The week-long race will feature eight stages, including a time trial, a summit finish, and a criterium-style tear-up in central London on the final day, as well as two stages longer than 200km.
RoadCyclingUK captured the immediate reaction of a host of top riders, including those of NetApp-Endura’s Russell Downing, set to race in the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix in the next fortnight.
Former national circuit race champion, Graham Briggs (Raleigh), the Madison-Genesis duo of Chris Snook and Jack Pullar, and IG-Sigma Sport’s James Moss and Pete Hawkins also shared their views on a parcours billed as the hardest yet for the modern incarnation of the national tour.
The 2013 Tour of Britain starts in Scotland on Sunday September 15, 2013. Click here for a detailed look at the route.
Eddie White (Raleigh) – directeur sportif
“It’s the hardest one yet. I think it will suit the team I’ve got. We’ve got some very good climbers in the team. I particularly like the 10-mile time trial. That will put a different aspect on the race altogether. You’ll have no-one who can sit there and wait for the hills. They’ll have to come out and fight. The finish in London is always going to be a draw. That will almost be like a race on its own that everybody will want to win. It’s going to be a difficult race, it’s going to be a challenging race, and it’s going to be a spectacle for the television.”
Jack Pullar (Madison-Genesis)
“Stage two looks really good. It’s quite local to me. One of the climbs on it is Honister Pass. I’ve been up that a few times on a bike and it’s absolutely horrendous. The prospect of that looks quite exciting. I’m not a time trialer myself, but it looks interesting. It will be good for people who maybe lose time on the climbs, who can claw it back in the time trial. Not many people can time trial and climb so it’s an even route, really. It looks really good.”
Russell Downing (NetApp-Endura)
“It looks tough. It shows where the Tour of Britain is going: every year it gets better and better and there’s a mix of everything in there. That’s what a tour is about. It’s not a sprinter’s tour. There’s a time trial in there which suits me, obviously! The hard day looks really hard – the one in the Lake District. That’s not going to be an easy day. People think it’s just going to be up and down, but it’s all day.”
Graham Briggs (Raleigh)
“It looks pretty good. There’s a bit in there for everyone, with the individual time trial, a few long days, and a few climbs. It looks an interesting route. London looks a good stage, but first of all I’ve got to try and get in the squad! We’ve got a strong team for the climbs, and I think that’s where the race will be decided. On the final stage, it will be good to get in a breakaway and to get some exposure.”
Pete Hawkins (IG-Sigma Sport)
“At a first glance, it looks pretty hard. It looks like it’s quite tough all the way through. Having the time trial will definitely change the nature of the race. It will mean that some guys will have to make even more of an effort on the hills. Other guys will have to follow and use their TT form.
“Getting over climbs in Premier Calendar events and getting over climbs at that level is something different, but it looks like quite a tough route which I think should suit the guys we have. It’s always worth getting in the breaks and getting in the right moves and I think we’ve got the riders for that. I’m looking forward to it.”
Chris Snook (Madison-Genesis)
“I’m looking forward to London, and maybe Guildford as well. I’m from that area. I know the roads. I’ve done Guildford town centre crits and raced up that cobbled climb. That will be another stage for me to look at. The tme trial will be interesting as well. I’ll be giving time trialing a shot this year. It should suit me, but we’ll see. The stages seem to be getting longer! It’s proper racing.”
James Moss (IG-Sigma Sport)
“That stage through the Lakes [stage two] stands out. I know some of the roads there relatively well and it’s the sort of place you’d try and avoid! The Devon neck of the woods is always hard. Surrey is fairly local to where I am now and that’s never flat: the roads are always going up or down. The year I raced, the London stage was out at the Excel Centre, so it will be nice to do a stage through the centre of London.
“I’ve only raced the Tour of Britain once, in 2010, but it was head and shoulders bigger than anything else that year, and what I saw of last year, from watching on television, there were masses and masses of people. It’s no longer a little sub-culture of a sport: it’s something everyone knows about. Even here at the launch, there’s a lot more people than there has been and not just cycling-based people – the general press, too. That can only be a good thing.”