The 2011 Tour of Britain route was unveiled on Tuesday, with the inclusion of a short time trial and a central London circuit race on the final day of the race.
The eight-day race begins in Peebles in Scotland on September 11, before the grandstand finale in London the following Sunday, with a 10km time trial in the morning followed by a circuit race around Whitehall in the afternoon.
In between, there is a balanced mix of flat and rolling stages that will pit the sprinters and opportunists against one another. While day two to Blackpool ought to suit the fast men, the following stage’s uphill finish in Stoke-on-Trent is sure to shake up the general classification.
An undulating day’s racing in Wales follows, with the Brecon Beacons and Caerphilly Mountain set to provide a sting in the tail of stage four. Next up is a foray into the South West of England, where the rugged terrain will suit punchy riders on the run-in to stage finishes in Exeter and Wells. The penultimate day sees the race tackle its longest stage in East Anglia, before the climactic finish in London.
It will be the first time the race has featured a time trial since 2005, and will add an interesting new dynamic to the Tour of Britain as well as boosting the chances of time trial specialist such as Bradley Wiggins. This year the overall race leader will wear a gold-coloured jersey.
“We are very excited about the route for the 2011 Tour of Britain, particularly with the inclusion of the final day time trial in the very heart of London," Tour of Britain Race Director Mick Bennett explained.
The 16 competing teams is set to include Team Sky, Leopard Trek, Garmin-Cervélo and Rabobank. Michael Albasini (HTC) won the 2010 Tour of Britain.
Tour of Britain, September 11-18:
Stage 1, Peebles-Dumfries
Stage 2, Kendal-Blackpool
Stage 3, The Stoke-on-Trent Stage
Stage 4, Welshpool-Caerphilly
Stage 5, Exeter-Exmouth
Stage 6, Taunton-Wells
Stage 7, Bury St Edmunds-Sandringham
Stage 8a, London, Individual Time Trial
Stage 8b, London, Circuit Race