The two Welsh stages of the Tour of Britain have today been officially welcomed on the opening day of the Royal Welsh Show by the First Minister of Wales Carwyn Jones and elite Welsh cyclists.
Britain’s most prestigious professional cycle race will return to Wales for two stages once again this September, with Wednesday 7 September seeing the world’s top riders racing from Denbigh to Builth Wells, where they will finish on the Royal Welsh Showground.
Thursday 8 September will then see the world’s top cyclists racing from Aberdare across South Wales through Rhondda Cynon Taf, Caerphilly County Borough, Torfaen and Monmouthshire before a finish in Bath.
The two stages will include almost 300-kilometres of racing on Welsh roads, with Stage Four from Denbigh to Builth Wells the longest of the 2016 race at 218-kilometres also including the most ascent of any leg, with over 4,000-metres of climbing.
First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones, said: “I am delighted to launch two new Welsh stages of the Tour of Britain. The race is a great opportunity for us to showcase the beautiful Welsh landscape to the cyclists taking part as well as the thousands of spectators who watch the thrilling competition.
“Following the magnificent Euro 2016 tournament, Wales’ sporting achievements are being recognised and celebrated around the globe. I hope being part of the Tour of Britain will continue to inspire people in Wales to take up sport – and with 2016 being Wales’ Year of Adventure, this is the perfect time for people to get active and plan a sporting adventure!”
Stage Four will begin from Denbigh town centre at 10:30 and is expected to finish on the Royal Welsh Showground at Builth Wells at around 15:29. It will mark the first time that Denbighshire has hosted a stage start of the Tour of Britain and the first time that a stage has finished in Powys.
Flintshire will host an intermediate Yodel Sprint, sponsored by parcel delivery company Yodel, in Mold and the day’s opening SKODA King of the Mountains climb to the village of Rhydtalog.
Two further SKODA King of the Mountains climbs will come at Bwlch-y-Safn in Denbighshire’s Berwyn Mountains and at Dyfnant forest in Powys, with the final Yodel Sprints in the villages of Foel and Newbridge-on-Wye.
The Tour of Britain will resume a day later from Aberdare Park in Rhondda Cynon Taf at 11:00 on Thursday 8 September for a 205-kilometre stage to Bath. From Aberdare the stage will pass through Mountain Ash, Ystrad Mynach and Pontypool, before the opening Yodel Sprint on Monmouth Road in Usk.
The Stage Five route continues through Monmouthshire to Tintern, crossing the River Wye into Gloucestershire via the Bigsweir Bridge north of Llandogo.
Commenting on the Welsh stages, Tour of Britain Race Director Mick Bennett said; “We are looking forward to this year’s Welsh stages of the Tour of Britain and taking in new venues and new climbs. As always the Welsh stages will be amongst the hardest in the Tour, and this year is no different with both stages in excess of 200-kilometres and containing plenty of climbing.”
It will be the first time that the Tour of Britain has returned to Caerphilly County Borough since Caerphilly hosted three stage finishes between 2011 and 2013, while Monmouthshire will welcome the race for the first time since the summit finish on the Tumble in 2014.
Anne Adams-King, Chief Executive Officer at Welsh Cycling said; “Welsh Cycling is delighted to once again welcome the Tour of Britain to Wales. A stage start is a first for the town of Denbigh, and to finish at the heart of Wales at the Royal Welsh Showground in Builth Wells will be spectacular. We are also pleased to see Stage Five depart from Aberdare as the race travels across the border to finish in Bath.
“We have a fantastic summer of cycling activities here in Wales for everyone to enjoy. With our elite athletes competing in the Tour de France and Rio Olympic Games, and major events like the Tour of Britain on our doorstep, we hope that Wales will be inspired to cycle this summer.”
This year will be the eighth year that the modern Tour of Britain has visited Wales since its revival in 2004. The race has visited annually since 2010, with Wales hosting the Grand Depart of the race from Anglesey for the first time in 2015.
The 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.