The Aviva Tour of Britain is British Cycling’s premier road cycling event giving cycling fans the opportunity to see the world’s best teams and riders competing on their door step. Scottish cycling enthusiasts will be treated to two stages this year, with Stage 4 visitingÂ Edinburgh for the first time in the history of the race.
Just when you thought the streets of Edinburgh were safe, one of the country’s most popular sports, along with its entourage of support buses, mechanics, doctors and media celebrities will be arriving for the Stage Four lead out on 9th September. And then there are the fans, thousands of them, hoping to catch a glimpse of the stars, or to be where the action takes place.
Amongst the favourites (though not necessarily to win) will be Sir Bradley Wiggins, competing for the eighth time since the race started in 2004.Â The 35-year-old former Tour de France winner and London Olympics gold medallist, who won the event in 2013, has switched focus to track events, particularly the team pursuit at the 2016 Olympic Games,Â but is returning to the road in preparation for team Wiggins’Â appearance at the European Championships.
While Sir Bradley’s appearance will no doubt bring the crowds, he has no expectations of good results. â€œItâ€™s took a long time to get my head around the fact that Iâ€™m not a road rider any more and [the track] is what I do now,â€ he says.Â â€œThe trainingâ€™s quite different but I look forward to the Tour of Britain as itâ€™s always nice to ride round the country. The race has got bigger every year and the attendances are fantastic.â€
Another favourite with the fans will be the 26-time Tour de France stage winner Mark Cavendish riding forÂ Etixx-Quick-Step to renew his sprint rivalry with Lotto-Soudalâ€™s Andre Greipel. Manxman Mark has also quit road racing to concentrate on the track but says, “It’s my home tour and it’s always something special to ride in front of your national crowd. It’s already my 8th time at the race and year-by-year I can see how cycling is growing in this nation. We are at the start to try to be successful as we were last year. We have a strong team and we are ready to race. This year the course is extremely difficult. It will be also a good final preparation for the UCI World Championships in Richmond.”
2014 overall Tour of Britain winner Dylan Van Baarle has confirmed he will be defending his title as the Grand Depart sets off inÂ Anglesey but Team Sky have yet to confirm their team with favourites Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas on duty at the Vuelta a Espana.
Stage 1, Sun Sept 6, Beaumaris, Anglesey to Wrexham, 177km
Stage 2, Mon Sept 7, Clitheroe to Colne, 162km
Stage 3, Tues Sept 8, Cockermouth to Floors Castle, Kelso, 216km
Stage 4, Weds Sept 9, Edinburgh to Blyth, 218km
Stage 5, Thur Sept 10, Prudhoe to Hartside Pass, 171km
Stage 6, Fri Sept 11, Stoke-on-Trent to Nottingham, 189km
Stage 7, Sat Sept 12, Fakenham to Ipswich, 225km
Stage 8, Sun Sept 13, London criterium, 93km
Stages 3 and 4 will be the ones accessible to Scottish fans, or to be avoided if you’re trying to get somewhere on the roads.
Paul Bush OBE, Chief Operating Officer for EventScotland said, â€œThe Friends Life Tour of Britain is the countryâ€™s top bike race and we are proud to host two stages in Scotland this year. With stunning scenery throughout the Scottish Borders, Dumfries and Galloway, and East Lothian, Scotland will undoubtedly provide the perfect stage for the action. The Edinburgh start in particular will be of particular interest to Scottish cycling fans as we see the peloton ride through the capital for the very first time.
â€œWith excitement and passion for cycling at a record high following the hugely successful road race at the Commonwealth Games last year, we look forward to welcoming some of the worldâ€™s top riders to Scotland once again.â€
Stage 3 route snakes from Cockermouth through Hawick, Selkirk and Melrose before the finish at Floors Castle outside Kelso. More details, routes and useful information for spectatorsÂ here
And Stage Four route (Edinburgh â€“ Duns â€“ Coldstream â€“ Wooler â€“ Alnwick â€“ Ashington â€“ Morpeth â€“ Blyth) and information, including road closures is here
If you want to see a bit more than a flash of colours and a whizz of wheels, Stage One of the Aviva Tour of Britain will be shown live on ITV between 1pm and 4pm, with subsequent stages shown live on ITV4. ITV4 will also broadcast a one hour highlights programme the evening of every stageÂ with live coverage and highlights shown worldwide in excess of 120 countries.