The route for the 2021 Tour of Britain has been unveiled, with three hilltop finishes and a team time trial on the menu for the early September, eight-day race.
The race, which kicks off in Penzance in Cornwall on September 5, will head to Exeter, Llandudno, Warrington and Edinburgh before finishing in Aberdeen – the first time the modern race has ended with two Scottish stages.
Despite lacking a longer summit finish – such as the Whinlatter Pass in 2018 or Haytor in 2016 – the race still takes in a mammoth 18,800 metres of climbing spread across 1,320 kilometres of racing, with plenty of hills spread throughout every stage.
"This year's Tour of Britain route is truly spectacular, covering a greater geographical area than we've ever done before while also ticking off several things we've wanted to do for a long time," said Race Director Mick Bennett.
"Be it visiting Cornwall and Aberdeenshire, hosting stage finishes on the summit of Great Orme and in the shadow of the Angel of the North, reintroducing a team time trial and visiting noteworthy and historic host venues new and old, I have a feeling that this year's race will be one for the ages.
"There are still fantastic opportunities for partners to get involved in the event, so why not join us and be a part of what will be an unforgettable week and a fantastic celebration of Britain and cycling!"
The 17th edition of the Tour of Britain, rescheduled after the cancellation last year, starts with a 180.8-kilometre hilly stage in south-west England, concluding with an uphill finish in Bodmin after having taken in three third-category climbs along the way.
Stage 2 will take the riders to Devon for another challenging day, this time featuring three second-category climbs spread across the 184-kilometre route. Exeter hosts the finish for the first time since Matthias Brändle's solo victory in 2014.
The third stage brings the challenge of a team time trial for only the third time in race history. The 27.7-kilometre test runs from Llandilo to the National Botanic Garden of Wales, and the hilly course should provide a major GC sort-out.
Stage 4 is the queen stage of the race, taking riders from south to north Wales as they skirt Cardigan Bay on the 210.2-kilometre day from Aberaeron to Llandudno. The coastal resort town will host an brutal uphill finish on the Great Orme (1.9km at 9.8 per cent), with a less steep lap of the headland preceding the finale.
The fifth stage sees the peloton head from Cheshire to a finish in Warrington. Full details of the 152km stage have yet to be confirmed.
Stage 6 takes the peloton across the far north of England from Carlisle to Gateshead. The 197.4-kilometre stage brings three first-category climbs along the way and further climbing towards the end of the stage en route to an uphill finish in Gateshead, which hosted stage finishes in 2008 and 2009.
The town of Hawick near the English border kicks off the first of two days in Scotland to conclude the race. The peloton face another hilly day with two second-category climbs dotted along the 195.7-kilometre route to Edinburgh, where the finish will be staged below Arthur's Seat.
The final stage – the most northerly ever to feature in the race – takes the riders 173 kilometres from Stonehaven to Aberdeen, with the first-category Cairn o'Mount providing a stern test early on, with more hilly lying in wait on the way to the finish.
A full list of teams and participants have yet to be confirmed for this year's race, which should provide a good lead-in for the Flanders Worlds later in September. Five British Continental teams – Canyon dhb SunGod, SwiftCarbon Pro Cycling, Ribble Weldtite Pro Cycling, Saint Piran and Trinity Racing – and the Great Britain national team have already been confirmed as taking part, however.
Daniel joined Cyclingnews as staff writer in 2019 after working freelance at pretty much everywhere in cycling media for seven years.
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