The 2012 Tour of Britain will be the hardest yet, with a challenging set of eight stages that will ensure the final destination of the race leader’s IG Markets Gold Jersey isn’t decided until a spectacular final stage in the Surrey Hills.
Stage Eight sees The Tour, Britain’s biggest professional cycle race, visit Surrey for the first time, with Guildford hosting the finish of the final stage, atop it’s cobbled High Street.
Helyn Clack, Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Services and the 2012 Games said: “The bone juddering cobbles of Guildford will provide an exhilarating finale to this incredible event.”
The Tour of Britain begins in East Anglia for the first time, with Ipswich hosting the Grand Depart on Sunday 9 September. Stage One takes The Tour through Suffolk and Norfolk to the finish on the Norfolk Showground outside of Norwich.
- Ipswich to host Grand Depart of 2012 Tour of Britain
- Race returns to Nottingham and Carlisle for first time since 2005
- Riders to tackle fearsome Caerphilly Mountain twice on Welsh stage
- Penultimate day’s Devon stage to provide final weekend shake-up
- Guildford’s cobbled High Street to host finish of final day
Stage Two looks to be another for the sprinters, starting from Nottingham Castle and heading across the Peak District National Park to Knowsley on Merseyside for what will be a memorable stage finish at Knowsley Safari Park alongside the elephant enclosure!
Scotland hosts Stage Three of The Tour on Tuesday 11 September, travelling from Jedburgh in the Scottish Borders to Dumfries, where riders will tackle three circuits of a finish loop in the Dumfries & Galloway countryside.
A short hop over the Border sees The Tour of Britain return to Carlisle for the first time since 2005 for the start of Stage Four. A distance of 156km of Cumbrian and Lancastrian roads await, taking the leg through Kendal on its way to a Blackpool Promenade finish in the shadow of Blackpool Tower.
Over 2,000m of climbing await riders in The Tour on Stage Five, starting from Stoke-on-Trent’s Trentham Estate and finishing once again in the City Centre, on the way tackling Cannock Chase, the Staffordshire Moorlands and Gun Hill.
There’ll be no respite on Stage Six on Friday 14 September as riders return to the National Trust’s Powis Castle in Welshpool for a long stage down through mid-Wales to Caerphilly, where riders will tackle the fearsome Caerphilly Mountain twice before the finish outside the world-famous Caerphilly Castle.
Devon will be The Tour of Britain’s penultimate stage in 2012, with a cross-county stage heading from Barnstaple on the county’s north coast to Dartmouth on the south coast via Dartmoor. With barely a metre of flat throughout the 170km the Devon stage is set once again to be decisive in the battle for the Skoda King of the Mountains Jersey, as well as the overall battle.
Surrey’s final leg will see riders head from Reigate, through the finish line in Guildford and out onto the Surrey Hills. With the final climb of the 2012 Tour coming in the last 25 kilometres of racing, plus the uphill, cobbled drag to the finish line, spectators can expect the destination of the IG Markets Gold Jersey to remain undecided until the end.
IG Markets, continue as Partners of the Race sponsoring the IG Markets Gold Jersey of race leader, won in 2011 by Rabobank’s Lars Boom.
Commenting on the announcement, Tim Hughes, Managing Director of IG said, “We were delighted with the success of The Tour of Britain last year. The large crowds at the side of the road showed how cycling has captured the imagination of this country. This year’s Tour is huge opportunity as the first major sporting event in this country after the Olympics and Paralympics to capitalise on the nation’s enthusiasm for sport and for cycling.”
The world’s top riders will also do battle for the ŠKODA King of the Mountains Jersey and Yodel Sprints Jersey, with three categorised ŠKODA climbs and three intermediate Yodel Sprints on each stage counting towards their respective jersey classifications.
“We would like to thank our many partners, venues and stakeholders for their involvement in the planning of the 2012 Tour of Britain and are excited to finally be able to reveal our plans to our supporters,” said Race Director Mick Bennett.
“The route of this year’s Tour is certainly our toughest yet, and to coin a phrase a race of two halves. I am sure it will make for some spectacular action this September, and look forward to seeing bigger crowds than ever at the roadside in what is British sport’s biggest year.”
More details of the 2012 Tour of Britain, including detailed stage maps and the locations of intermediate Skoda King of the Mountains climbs and Yodel Sprints will be revealed during a series of regional launches, beginning with the launch of Stage One on Tuesday 8 May from the Adnams brewery in Southwold, Suffolk.
Once again amateur cyclists will have the chance to experience The Tour of Britain first hand, with five Tour Rides supporting the elite race between July and the end of September. In July cyclists can ride the route of Stage One from Ipswich to the Norfolk Showground before August sees circular Tour Rides based around Caerphilly in Wales and Dumfries in Scotland.
Two final Tour Rides follow The Tour of Britain in September, firstly the weekend after The Tour on the route of The Stoke-on-Trent Stage, starting and finishing on the Trentham Estate, while the final Ride of 2012 sees The Tour of Britain link up with the Cycle Show for The Tour Ride Cycle Show Sportive.
Dates for all Tour Rides are available from www.tourride.co.uk while further details of the rides and the opening of the registration process will be announced soon.