The OVO Energy Tour of Britain, British Cycling’s premier road cycling race, will link the capitals of Scotland and Wales in 2017, starting from Edinburgh’s Royal Mile and finishing in Cardiff city centre outside City Hall eight days later.
It will be the first time that Edinburgh has hosted the opening stage and just the fourth time since the race was revived in 2004, and the first time since 2012, that the OVO Energy Tour of Britain has finished outside of London.
The eight stages of the 2017 route will cover over 1,310-kilometres between Sunday 3 and Sunday 10 September, with ITV4 again providing four hours of coverage each day, three of them live.
Nine new venues will welcome Britain’s biggest professional cycle race, with Tendring in Essex among them, hosting a 10-mile individual time trial, the longest in the Tour since 2013.
Stage one: Sunday 3 September
Edinburgh to Kelso - 188km
Stage two: Monday 4 September
Kielder Water & Forest Park to Blyth - 211km
Stage three: Tuesday 5 September
Normanby Hall Country Park to Scunthorpe - 172km
Stage four: Wednesday 6 September
Mansfield to Newark-on-Trent - 175km
Stage five: Thursday 7 September
The Tendring Stage individual time trial - 16km
Stage six: Friday 8 September
Newmarket to Aldeburgh - 183km
Stage seven: Saturday 9 September
Hemel Hempstead to Cheltenham - 186km
Stage eight: Sunday 10 September
Worcester to Cardiff - 180km
Mick Bennett, race director of the OVO Energy Tour of Britain, said: “This year’s OVO Energy Tour of Britain route is a race of firsts, with nine new venues welcoming the race plus our first overall start in the city of Edinburgh. We will be bringing Britain’s biggest professional cycle race to new areas this September and look forward to our first finish in Wales and the chance to race into Cardiff.
“We introduced summit finishes for the first time in 2013, this year we are giving a chance to the sprinters and rouleurs in the OVO Energy Tour of Britain. Following the success of the Tatton Park finish last year we have introduced several finishing circuits, this will add a new dimension for both the sprinter’s teams, who will get to see the finish beforehand, and the fans as a whole who will enjoy the spectacle of the race twice.
“The addition of an individual time trial over a classic British 10-mile distance will be a great contest between our national time trial champion Alex Dowsett, on his home roads in Essex, and the world’s best time trialists.”
Chris Houghton, managing director, OVO Energy, said: "As the title sponsor, OVO Energy is helping to bring fans and spectators across the country unparalleled access to watch the world's best teams and riders competing on their doorsteps. We believe in powering a sustainable future that is ‘better for everyone’ through the use of smart technology. Cycling is the ultimate sustainable mode of transport and an innovation-led sport - with cyclists themselves generating millions of watts of energy each day across Britain and adopting the very best technology to manage and measure their performance."
Commenting on the announcement, Jonny Clay, director of cycling, British Cycling said: “Britain’s appetite for cycling knows no bounds, and we’re confident that this year’s Tour of Britain will be a fantastic event. Britain’s National Tour will be passing through not only iconic city locations but also people’s front doors; I’d encourage as many fans as possible to line the streets and get involved.”
Sunday 3 September will see the opening stage in Scotland, heading from Edinburgh’s Royal Mile to Kelso in the Scottish Borders, with stage one featuring a spectator friendly loop through the finish.
The second stage, on Monday 4 September, takes place in Northumberland, heading from Kielder Water and Forest Park to Blyth, which last hosted a stage finish two years ago, won by Fernando Gaviria. The stage will also feature an 18-kilometre finishing circuit that riders will tackle once.
North Lincolnshire will host a whole stage for the first time, marking the return of the race to the area for the first time since 2009. Stage three on Tuesday 5 September will begin in the 300-acre country estate of Normanby Hall and finish in Scunthorpe.
A day later Nottinghamshire also hosts an entire stage for the first time, with Mansfield and Newark-on-Trent welcoming the OVO Energy Tour of Britain for the first time on Wednesday 6 September.
Thursday 7 September will witness a mid-race individual time trial over a distance of 10-miles/16-kilometres, in and around Clacton-on-Sea in the Tendring district of Essex.
A familiar stop on the Tour in recent years, Suffolk will host a full stage for the first time, with the start on Friday 8 September in the famous horse racing town of Newmarket and the finish on the Suffolk Coast in Aldeburgh.
The penultimate stage of the race will cross the Cotswolds, from Hemel Hempstead to a new finish in the centre of Cheltenham on Saturday 9 September.
The final stage on Sunday 10 September will then take the OVO Energy Tour of Britain from Worcester city centre through Worcestershire and Herefordshire to finish in Cardiff for the first time ever.
20 teams will race in the 2017 OVO Energy Tour of Britain, with the identities of the squads that will make up the field to be announced in the summer.