The 2013 Tour of Britain will feature the race’s first summit finish, a 16km TT in a safari park and – another first for the event – a ladies’ race preceding the men’s final stage in the streets of London.
The eight-day race, celebrating its 10th anniversary in its modern incarnation continues to build upon the assertion that it delivers an ever-harder event, and the 6km climb day 6 to Haytor on Dartmoor - billed the ‘sting in the tail’ by race director Mick Bennett at Thursday’s launch - is the centrepiece.
The UCI ranked 2.1 event – actually the shortest of the past ten editions at 1, 045km – starts on 15 September in Peebles in the Scottish Borders will finish with 88km on a city circuit centred on Whitehall on 22 September.
Along the way, the race visits tough terrain in the Lake District on Stage 2 – also the longest day at 225km – Wales, the South West and the leafy lanes of Surrey.
Bennett said the two tough opening stages – both over 200km – followed by a mid-race time trial on stage three in Knowsley Safari Park on Merseyside would be a tough test for the riders: “There’re flashpoints on virtually every stage,” he said.
“The change for us is that we usually put two relatively flat easier stages at the beginning of the Tour. This second day finishing Kendal and going up Honister Pass and all that makes it very difficult day – and then there’s a ten mile time trial to follow it. The flashpoint for me would be how they all come out of stage two,” he said.
For the first time too, the race will also visit Snowdonia with a finish in Llanberis on stage 4.
The race will also visit perennial host towns including Caerphilly in Wales, Stoke-on-Trent in the Midlands and Guildford in Surrey on the penultimate day, where world champion Mark Cavendish won in front of large crowds last year.
The final day will feature a women’s race ahead of the men’s finale.
Bennett said “Ahead of the stage we will be putting on an international women’s bike providing a great showcase for this country’s top female cyclists in this great city.
“We hope many of the UCI’s women’s teams will take this opportunity to race on such an iconic circuit in front of what can only be assumed as being big crowds.”
NetApp-Endura’s Russell Downing agreed the men’s tour promised to be tough. “Some of those days down in Wales – not only are you going up, you’re staying up on the top.
“The stage to Haytor – that’s a hard ‘un because we’ve never had a summit finish. Not only are they long days, those roads are dead – they’re not like European roads. And then there’s the weather…
“Ten years on, it shows where the Tour of Britain’s come from that it’s bigger and better than ever,” he said.
Last year, the race, resurrected in 2004 by the organisers SweetSpot, had its first British winner in Jonathan Tiernan-Locke, then riding for Endura.
2013 Tour of Britain:
Stage One: Sunday 15th September Peebles - Drumlanrig Castle 201km
Stage Two: Monday 16th September Carlisle - Kendal 225km
Stage Three: Tuesday 17th September Knowsley Individual Time Trial 16k
Stage Four: Wednesday 18th September Stoke-on-Trent – Llanberis, Wales 190.9km
Stage Five: Thursday 19th September Machynlleth - Caerphilly 177.1km
Stage Six: Friday 20th September Sidmouth – Haytor 137km
Stage Seven: Saturday 21st September Epsom - Guildford 150.4km
Stage Eight: Sunday 22nd September London circuit 88kk