Liverpool will host the first stage of the 2014 Tour of Britain on Sunday September 7, organisers have announced.
The 11th edition of the race, now classified as a 2.HC event by the UCI, will start with ten laps of a 13km circuit in the city.
Starting and finishing on The Strand, the stage – the first time Liverpool has hosted the ‘Grand Depart’ – will be set against the backdrop of the Three Graces, with a sprinter likely to pull on the leader’s gold jersey.
“We are delighted that this year’s Tour of Britain can start with such a prestigious stage in the centre of Liverpool,” said Tour of Britain race director Mick Bennett.
“The opening circuit will be perfectly suited to the sprinters, and whoever wins stage one will pull on the first yellow jersey of 2014.
“With the support of Liverpool City Council we are looking forward to making this year’s Grand Depart a memorable occasion for cycling fans.”
Full details of the route for the opening stage will be revealed in due course, while a mass participation event, set to coincide with the first stage, is also set to be revealed.
And Liverpool’s assistant mayor, and cabinet member responsible for sport, Cllr Wendy Simon, is delighted to be welcoming the race to Merseyside.
She said: “This is a huge coup for the city. It’s wonderful news that this world famous sporting event will begin in Liverpool.
“This race attracts some of the best riders from across the globe, with previous races featuring elite cyclists such as Bradley Wiggins, Mark Cavendish and Chris Froome.
“There’s a real momentum building for cycling in this city.”
Race organisers SweetSpot have also announced the leader’s jersey for the Tour will be produced by Dare 2b, alongside all staff and crew clothing.
Managing director Graham Rickard said: “As a British-based brand it’s really exciting for us to be a part of the country’s biggest professional cycle race.”
This year’s Tour of Britain takes place from Sunday September 7 to Sunday March 14, with the full national route to be announced tonight.