Kittel Wins Tour of Britain Opener

Tour of BritainMarcel Kittel has won the opening stage of the Tour of Britain with a sprint finish at the conclusion of the eight-lap, 104.8km start in Liverpool, narrowly beating Nicola Ruffoni into second and Mark Cavendish into third. Team Giant-Shimano’s Kittel, who won two of the Grand Depart stages of this year’s Tour de France finished in 2h 16’35” commenting: ‘It was really messy at the finish – it’s always difficult when you have a downhill section in the final kilometre as it becomes really fast and harder to hold position… It’s good to win the first stage. It’s really nice to see the reaction of the spectators here – a lot of people came out to the race today.’


Cavendish was, in many respects, lucky to take a podium place at all having crashed into a car at just under the 105k point prompting flash-backs of his disastrous Tour de France opener. The Omega Pharma – Quick-Step rider said of the accident: ‘I had to change my cleats in the beginning of the stage; I was coming back after and I was behind a car. Someone had to stop for a puncture so the car slammed on its brakes, and there was an island in the road. If I went right, I would hit a traffic island, so I went left and I whacked another car. I hit it with my left leg and I was down on the road. I felt immediately a lot of pain on my quadriceps. It took me a lap to come back even because our team car couldn’t assist me immediately because it was on the front.’


Defending Tour of Britain champion Bradley Wiggins, hoping to become the first rider to win successive titles since the race was reintroduced in 2004, finished in the peloton in 74th place.


The Tour of Britain continues today with the 200.8k stage from Knowsley to Llandudno. Full details at


Women’s Tour of Britain

Lizzie Armistead BBC SuperstarsThe International Cycling Union (UCI) has given the Women’s Tour of Britain a 2.1 status for its launch in 2014. The classification is significant for a number of reasons: firstly it puts the event on a par with some of the highest-rated women’s races in the world (and with the men’s ToB), in turn this will ensure a top-flight of riders –meaning, for viewers and followers, a more dramatic spectacle – and finally it potentially makes the future staging of a Women’s Tour de France that much more likely.


The Women’s Tour of Britain, officially entitled The Women’s Tour, will begin on Wednesday May 7 with the Grand Depart in Northamptonshire and conclude on Sunday May 14; the location of the other four stages of this five-stage event have yet to be revealed.


Commenting on the announcement British Cycling’s Director of Cyclesport Jonny Clay said: ‘The Women’s Tour will be a fantastic addition to the British racing calendar next year… We worked with SweetSpot (the event organisers) to identify the best calendar slot and lobbied the UCI for the highest category a start up event could attain. The fact that the event has been granted 2.1 status, putting it in the top echelon of races, is welcome news.’ Guy Elliott, director SweetSpot, added: ‘We are absolutely delighted that the UCI have awarded us 2.1 status for this exciting new event.’


Last July, it was announced that SweetSpot would continue in its role as delivery partner for the Tour of Britain after being awarded a new five-year deal with British Cycling, to begin in 2014.



Wiggins Wins the Tour of Britain

Wiggins Wins the Tour of BritainIn an otherwise disappointing year, which saw his withdrawal from the Giro d’Italia through illness and a no-show at the Tour de France (illness and injury), Bradley Wiggins has secured a decisive win at the Tour of Britain. Wiggins started the final stage – the 10-lap 88km course in London – with a 26second advantage and sealed the overall victory, despite Mark Cavendish taking his third stage win of the Tour, in a total time of 29h 45’22”.  Martin Elmiger took the second GC place and Simon Yates the third.


Post-race Wiggins admitted, ‘…at the moment it’s just relief that the job’s done. From the minute you’ve won the time trial you believe you can win the GC, but it’s not over until you’ve crossed that line. (The lead) was only 26 seconds, so if you crash before 3km to go, and all those other little things to think about. It was a pretty hectic finish as everyone wants to win the last stage.’


Commenting on Team Sky’s success Sports Director Servais Knaven added, ‘It’s been a really good race once again and I’ve had a great team to work with here. Everybody was motivated and we were able to control the race almost from beginning to end. The riders have executed our plans to perfection and they deserve a lot of praise… As for Bradley, it’s great to see him riding at his very best again and he’ll head into the World Championships now raring to take on the likes of Tony Martin and Fabian Cancellara,’


Wiggins will be in action at the World Time Trial Championships on Wednesday, September 24.



Wiggins Leads Tour of Britain

Wiggins Leads Tour of BritainOlympic champion and 2012 Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins now leads the Tour of Britain after a dominating performance and solid win at the Stage Three Individual Time Trial. Wiggins conquered the 16km course around Knowsley Safari Park, Merseyside in 19’54”, 36seconds up on second-placed teammate Ian Stannard, with Garmin-Sharp’s Jack Bauer taking the third podium spot on +42’.


A clearly delighted Wiggins, whose 2013 season has rather lacked shine, said of his win under poor weather conditions: ‘I had to win today, whatever. The conditions weren’t ideal for me. I didn’t flinch on the roundabouts in the wet, but I thought I’d rather end up in hospital today than be beaten… When I was out of the Tour (de France) and training in June and July, I was here. This was my motivation, these were the things that kept me going: the world championships, the Tour of Britain and winning this time trial on home soil. I put pressure on myself, my own expectation. I wanted to win. That leads to pressure, but then I thrive off that, especially in this discipline.’


Wiggins now leads the GC in the Tour of Britain on an overall time of 11hr 25’54”, 37seconds up on Stannard. Omega Pharma-Quick Step’s Mark Cavendish currently sits in 25th place on +1’57”.


Further details on the Tour of Britain at



Team Sky Announce Tour of Britain Squad

Team Sky Announce Tour of Britain SquadTeam Sky have announced their squad for the Tour of Britain, which begins on Sunday September 15 in Peebles, Scotland. Sir Bradley Wiggins will lead the six-man squad as one of three British riders, along with Josh Edmondson and Ian Stannard, in the team’s home tour.  Austrian Bernhard Eisel, Australian Mathew Hayman and David Lopez of Spain complete the line-up.


Speaking about the Tour of Britain Wiggins said:  ‘I’m really looking forward to the Tour of Britain; it’s a race I’m fond of and it’s nice to see it growing in stature each year. The crowds and the roads make it special and it’s always very humbling to see the fantastic support that we get from the public… I’m coming into the race feeling really good.  It finishes in close proximity to the world time trial championships, which is my main late-season goal.


Fellow Brit rider Ian Stannard added:  ‘The Tour of Britain has become a massive event in the cycling calendar and I’m really excited to be racing at home… There’s a real enthusiasm for cycling at the moment – especially following Brad and Froomey’s Tour wins and the Olympics – so I’m really looking forward to competing again on British roads. We race all over the world but it’s always nice to compete in front of your home fans.  With such a high-level race in the UK naturally I want to be there.’



Tour of Britain Teams Announced

Tour of BritainThe lineup for the tenth anniversary Tour of Britain has been announced with the largest field to date comprising 19 teams and 114 riders taking on the eight stages starting in Peebles in the Scottish Borders on September 15 and ending in London on September 22. There is a good showing of 2013 Grand Tour teams including Sky Pro Cycling, Movistar and Garmin-Sharp, plus Milan San Remo winning team MTN Qhubeka and UCI Continental Teams Madison Genesis and Rapha Condor JLT.


Race Director Mick Bennett comments, ‘This year’s Tour of Britain will have a world-class line-up bringing a number of international stars to race on British roads, while at the same time allowing our top domestic teams and a Great Britain squad to race on the biggest stage possible for them… The make-up of teams will provide another exciting and unpredictable Tour from a racing perspective, whether you are watching at the roadside or at home on the live television coverage.’ Both ITV4 and British Eurosport will be serving up live coverage across the eight days of action and there is also an opportunity for amateur cyclists to take part in The Tour Ride Scotland on Saturday September 14 with a choice of 50- and 100mile routes (see for details.)


Participating teams for the tenth anniversary Tour of Britain are:


UCI Pro Teams: Cannondale Pro Cycling (Ita), Garmin-Sharp (USA), Movistar (Spa), Omega Pharma – Quick Step (Bel), Sky Pro Cycling (GBr)


UCI Pro Continental Teams: Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox (Ita), IAM Cycling (Swi), MTN Qhubeka p.b Samsung (RSA), Sojasun (Fra), Team NetApp Endura (Ger), UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling (USA)


UCI Continental Teams: AN Post Chain Reaction (Irl), Madison Genesis (GBr), Node4 Giordana Racing (GBr), Rapha Condor JLT (GBr), Team IG Sigma Sport (GBr), Team Raleigh (GBr), Team UK Youth (GBr)


National Teams: Great Britain (GBr)


For further details see


Featured Features

Tour of Britain 2013

Tour of Britain 2013The 10th anniversary of the re-launched Tour of Britain – which runs September 15-22 – will feature, according to organisers, the ‘hardest ever route’, and with tough double climbs of Caerphilly Mountain and the Tour’s first ever summit finish amongst the highlights it’s easy to see why. The Scottish Borders will host the start with the 201km leg from Peebles to Drumlanrig Castle, with riders finishing almost 1,200km later in London; the longest stage (225km) comes on day two, Carlisle to Kendal, whilst the 16km Individual Time Trial is set for day three at Knowsley Safari Park and the much anticipated summit finish comes on day six atop Haytor in Dartmoor.


The Tour of Britain is the UK’s biggest professional cycle race and the country’s largest free-to-watch sporting event; after a five-year absence from the calendar it returned in 2004 organised and promoted by sports marketing and events company SweetSpot. Commenting on the 2013 event Hugh Roberts, chief executive of SweetSpot said, ‘This year’s Tour will be an exciting and dynamic route, building on the success of last year’s race and celebrating what has been an incredible ten years of growth for The Tour of Britain and cycling in the UK.’ With ToB race director, Mick Bennett, adding, ‘This will definitely be the most challenging Tour of Britain yet,’ the full schedule is:


Stage 1 (September 15) Peebles – Drumlanrig Castle, 201km

Stage 2 (September 16) Carlisle – Kendal, 225km

Stage 3 (September 17) Knowsley, Individual Time Trial, 16km

Stage 4 (September 18) Stoke-on-Trent – Llanberis, 190.9km

Stage 5 (September 19) Machynlleth – Caerphilly, 177.1km

Stage 6 (September 20) Sidmouth – Haytor, Dartmoor, 137km

Stage 7 (September 21) Epsom – Guildford, 150.4km

Stage 8 (September 22) London, 88km


Another first for this year is the planned one-day women’s race set for London ahead of the final which will take place over the same 8.8km circuit of the capital on which the men will compete. Whilst the final day of the ToB will see a ten-lap circuit the distance for the one-day women’s event is yet to be agreed or made public.


If the action across the eight days of competition looks likely to be thrilling, there are already plenty of machinations behind the scenes with news that the owner/organisers of the Tour de France, Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), have officially confirmed an interest in running future editions of the event. ASO organise not only the Tour de France but also a number of other high-profile cycling events including Paris-Roubaix, Critérium du Dauphiné and Vuelta a España; speaking to the BBC the company’s president Jean-Etienne Amaur has finally come close to expressing explicit interest, saying: ‘It’s something we’re looking into right now but I can’t say too much about it… but if we can make it into something even more compelling for TV and spectators then we’d go for it.’


Despite the fact that the ToB has been organised by SweetSpot since its re-launch in 2004, British Cycling announced last year that it would be putting the contract for the Tour out to open tender in order to explore wider options in raising the profile. Speaking at the time British Cycling’s president, Brian Cookson, said he wanted to take a ‘…fresh look’ at how the ToB could better ‘…reflect the current status of our sport in this country.’


If neither SweetSpot nor Amaury did move forward with plans for the ToB another (somewhat outside) option could be ASO’s Italian rivals RCS Sport, organisers of the Giro d’Italia; in any event a decision on who will run the ToB from 2014 onwards is expected to be made before September, ahead of this year’s race.


For further information and all the latest news see




Sky Sign Tour of Britain Winner

This year’s Tour of Britain winner Jonathan Tiernan-Locke has announced that he is to join Team Sky. Perhaps no great surprise that the aggressively ambitious team should want to sign the 27-year-old climber; wins at both the Tour de Mediterranean and Tour du Haut Var, topped off by ToB victory have seen an impressive year for him and the move from Endura Racing should certainly see further impressive results. Commenting on the two year deal Tiernan-Locke said, ‘It’s an incredible opportunity for me to step up from the UCI Continental ranks, and although I’ve really enjoyed my time at Endura, I couldn’t pass up the chance to join the world’s best team. When you look at the season Team Sky have had, to even be considered by them was a massive honour for me, so I’m over the moon to be riding for them in 2013… I’m under no illusions – it’s going to be a big step up – but with all the support I’ll receive from the coaching staff, and having such talented riders around me, I’ll definitely be looking to up my game.’


Dave Brailsford, Team Sky Principal, commented, ‘At Team Sky we are determined that the best British talent have the opportunities to compete at the highest level of our sport. We have monitored Jonathan’s progress closely and are delighted to offer him this contract.’