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2021 Tour of Britain stage start and finish locations unveiled

MANCHESTER ENGLAND SEPTEMBER 14 Podium Matteo Trentin of Italy and Team MitcheltonSCOTT Mathieu van der Poel of The Netherlands and Corendon Circus Cycling Team Green Leader Jersey Jasper De Buyst of Belgium and Team Lotto Soudal Celebration Trophy during the 16th Tour of Britain 2019 Stage 8 a 166km stage from Altrincham to Manchester TourofBritain OVOToB on September 14 2019 in Manchester England Photo by Stephen PondGetty Images
Matteo Trentin, Mathieu van der Poel and Jasper De Buyst on the 2019 Tour of Britain podium (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

The 2021 Tour of Britain will start in Cornwall and head into Wales and the north of England before finishing with two stages in Scotland, race organisers Sweetspot have announced.

Alpecin-Fenix star Mathieu van der Poel is the reigning champion of the race, having won three stages en route to overall victory in Manchester in 2019, a 17-second victory over points classification winner Matteo Trentin.

For the first time in the history of the modern race, which was relaunched in 2004, the Tour will visit the south-west county of Cornwall, kicking off with a 170-kilometre stage from Penzance to Bodmin on Sunday, September 5. The opener will feature three categorised climbs and a 500-metre uphill finish on day one.

Devon will host the second stage, a 185-kilometre day in the Dartmoor hills between Sherford and Exeter. Meanwhile stages 3 and 4 will be held in Wales, heading north with start and finish towns and further details yet to be announced.

The peloton will be back in England for stage 5, starting in Cheshire and finishing in Warrington, before a race across the far north for stage 6. That day will see riders cross west to east across the Pennines as they start in Cumbria and finish in Gateshead, which hosted stage 4 in 2019.

Stage 7, the penultimate day of the race, will head into Scotland, running from Hawick in the Scottish Borders to the capital city of Edinburgh. The 2021 Tour of Britain will end in Aberdeen on Sunday, September 12, after starting in Stonehaven, marking the northernmost point the race has visited.

A number of route details have yet to be confirmed, including locations of stages 3 and 4, start towns for stages 5 and 6, stage profiles, and the possible location of any time trial.

"We are excited to reveal more details of this year's Tour of Britain and what is truly an epic route – one that will take us from the furthest tip of south west England, through Wales, and eventually finishing at one of the furthest points of north east Scotland," said Chief Executive of SweetSpot Hugh Roberts.

"We want to make September not just about the world-class racing and superstar riders but also through our campaign, Ride for Heroes, to ensure it is a celebration of 'all things British' and make it an occasion for ourselves and British Cycling to thank all those who have worked tirelessly over the past year to ensure our wellbeing and safety. 

"The SweetSpot team are determined that not only will there be great racing to enjoy but the Tour of Britain will also be way by which communities across the country can come together and show their appreciation for our COVID heroes over the past 12 months."

The race was cancelled in 2020 – along with the Women's Tour, Tour de Yorkshire and the RideLondon one-day races – due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. The 2021 race – which for the second edition in a row misses Britain's capital city, London – will follow the planned route of the 2020 race, while it has already been announced that the 2022 edition will finish on the Isle of Wight.

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Daniel Ostanek

Daniel Ostanek has been a staff writer at Cyclingnews since August 2019, having joined in 2017 as a freelance contributor and later part-time production editor. Before Cyclingnews, he was published in numerous publications around the cycling world, including Procycling, CyclingWeekly, CyclingTips, Cyclist, and Rouleur, among others. As well as reporting and writing news and features, Daniel runs the 'How to watch' content throughout the season.

Daniel has reported from the world's top races, including the Tour de France, and has interviewed a number of the sport's biggest stars, including Egan Bernal, Wout van Aert, Remco Evenepoel, Mark Cavendish, and Anna van der Breggen. Daniel rides a 2002 Landbouwkrediet Colnago C40 and his favourite races are Strade Bianche and the Vuelta a España.