North Wales to host Grand Depart of Friends Life Tour of Britain

North Wales to host Grand Depart of Friends Life Tour of Britain

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The 2015 Friends Life Tour of Britain has been officially launched in London with a route that includes the race’s toughest ever summit finish, a revamped final stage in the heart of London and a first ever Grand Depart for Wales.

North Wales will host the Grand Depart of this year's Friends Life Tour of Britain, as British Cycling's premier road cycling event begins in Wales for the first time in its modern history.

Sunday 6 September will see the world's top riders heading to North Wales for an opening stage from Beaumaris on Anglesey to Wrexham, which will pass through all six North Wales regions of Anglesey, Gwynedd, Conwy, Denbighshire, Flintshire and Wrexham.

It will also mark the first occasion that the opening stage of the Friends Life Tour of Britain has started on an island, with the stage due to cross the world-famous Menai Bridge to return to the mainland.

Stage One will also be televised on ITV, with three-hours of live coverage being shown on the main ITV channel before a one-hour highlights programme on ITV4 that evening.

Welsh Cycling Chief Executive Officer, Anne Adams-King, said: “It's fantastic to see Wales host the Grand Depart of the Friends Life Tour of Britain this year, with an iconic start on Anglesey.

“The people of Wales have always given competitors a warm Welsh welcome and been supportive of the prestigious cycling event year on year. I have no doubt it will continue this year with the support of our clubs, members and cycling fans from across Wales! I hope there will be many more people inspired to get on their bikes and enjoy our sport."

Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Ken Skates, said: "I'm delighted that north Wales will host the Grand Depart this year. The Tour of Britain is a fantastic opportunity for us to showcase Wales' unique and beautiful landscape to the world, as well as highlighting our ability to host a variety of major events. I hope that people from across Wales come out to support the event again this year."

Ahead of the opening stage, North Wales will also host a team presentation event, giving cycling fans the chance to get up close to the 120-riders participating, with further details on the event to be announced in the Summer.

North Wales has hosted stages of the Friends Life Tour of Britain in each of the past two years, with stage finishes in Llanberis (2013) and Llandudno (2014), though this will be the first occasion on which a stage of the race has started and finished within North Wales.

Commenting on the announcement, Mick Bennett, Race Director of Friends Life Tour of Britain organisers SweetSpot said; "The Grand Depart in North Wales has been a part of our overall commitment to the region since taking the race there for the first time in 2013, so we know that we will receive a warm welcome right the way along the route from Anglesey to Wrexham. The route is going to be a spectacular one, showcasing some of the amazing scenery that North Wales has to offer."

After completing the opening kilometres on Anglesey, Stage One will pass through Llanberis and climb Pen-y-Pass in Gwynedd, Betws-y-Coed and Llanrwst in Conwy, and Denbigh and Ruthin in Denbighshire. The race will cross into Flintshire and Mold via the Clwydian Hills, before the finish in the centre of Wrexham.

Further details of Stage One, including Ordnance Survey stage maps, will be announced in the Summer, along with details of the 20 competing teams.

After the opening Welsh stage, seven further days of racing will take the 2015 Friends Life Tour of Britain to Cumbria, Scotland, Northumberland and the Peak District before a final day's racing in the heart of London with an iconic new circuit taking in many of the capital's world famous sights.

Once again ITV will screen three-hours of live coverage of every stage, starting on ITV for the opening Wales stage before reverting to ITV4 for Stages Two to Eight. ITV4 will also screen a one-hour highlights programme each evening during the race.

The Friends Life Tour of Britain is British Cycling's premier road cycling event giving cycling fans the opportunity to see the world's best teams and riders competing on their door step.

Sunday 6 September
Stage one - Beaumaris, Anglesey to Wrexham, 177km