Guide: 2017 Tour of Britain

Guide: 2017 Tour of Britain

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Britain’s premier men’s road cycling race - the Tour of Britain - returns on Sunday 3 to Sunday 10 September, starting in Edinburgh and finishing in Cardiff for the first time.

Many of the world’s top professional teams and riders will take on the eight stages of the race which will be broadcast live on ITV.

Edinburgh will see the race get underway and then host a HSBC UK City Ride, where people can take to the closed roads of the city on their bikes after waving off the professional teams on their gruelling, week-long journey.

How the race works

Each of the teams in the Tour of Britain will pick their six-rider line-up from their squad of riders.

Riders will take on designated roles, such as a team leader to aim for a place as high as possible on the general classification, a sprinter to target stage wins, a specialist climber for the hillier stages and several domestiques, riders whose sole aim is to help their team leaders.

Internationally, the Tour of Britain is a part of the season-long UCI Europe Tour, which begins in January and ends in October and is made up of single-day and stage races in which professional teams from around the world compete.

Alongside the UCI Europe Tour sit the Oceania, Asia, Africa and America calendars, all one level below the UCI World Tour, which includes the world's biggest races such as the Tour de France.

Stages

2017 Tour of Britain stages

Stage 1: Sunday 3 September
Edinburgh to Kelso
190km

Edinburgh will host the start of the OVO Energy Tour of Britain for the first time as Britain’s biggest professional cycle race begins in the Scottish capital on Sunday 3 September.

Stage one of the race will head from Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, where the race will start outside of St Giles’ Cathedral, through East Lothian and into the Scottish Borders and finishing in the town of Kelso.

The 188-kilometre opening leg will also include a 79-kilometre loop in the Scottish Borders, giving fans at the finish in Kelso town centre the opportunity to see the world’s top riders in action twice.

Fans at the start in Edinburgh will also have the chance to get on their bikes too, with the HSBC UK City Ride taking place from 11:00am following the departure of stage one on a traffic free circuit.

Stage 2: Monday 4 September
Northumberland - Kielder Water & Forest Park to Blyth
211 KM

At just over 211-kilometres the Northumberland stage will be the longest of the 2017 Tour, and will include a finishing loop, giving spectators at the Blyth finish the chance to see the race twice. 

The route will also take in the likes of Rothbury, Alnwick, Bamburgh and Morpeth plus the Northumberland coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Three category two climbs will make for an incredibly tough day for the riders in the north east of England.

Stage 3 - Tuesday 5 September
North Lincolnshire
178km

North Lincolnshire will host an entire stage of the Tour of Britain for the first time in 2017, a relatively flat stage that should lead to a thrilling finale between the the top sprinters.

Before that however, the peloton will take on a 182-kilometre stage, starting from the beautiful 300-acre estate of Normanby Hall Country Park, passing the spectacular Humber Bridge and finishing in the heart of Scunthorpe near Central Park.

Stage 4 - Wednesday 6 September
Mansfield to Newark-upon-Trent
165km

Nottinghamshire will host an entire stage of the Tour of Britain, as the event visits Mansfield and Newark-on-Trent for the first time.

The race will take on 175-kilometre stage from Mansfield to Newark-on-Trent and will take in Eastwood, Hucknall, Gedling and the grounds of Newstead Abbey and the centre of Southwell.

After heading through Sherwood Forest and Clumber Park the stage will loop the north of the county and the towns of Worksop and Retford and will also pass through Harworth and Bircotes, passing the museum and memorial to 1965 World Champion Tommy Simpson in the latter.

Stage 5 - Thursday 7 September
Clacton on Sea
16km time trial

Tendring in Essex will host an individual time trial stage during this year’s Tour of Britain, as the peloton contest the race against the clock on stage five.

The 10-mile / 16-kilometre time trial will start and finish in Clacton-on-Sea on an open, coastal course that will be a key stage in deciding the outcome in the race for the leader’s green jersey.

Stage 6 - Friday 8 September
Suffolk Newmarket - Aldeburgh
187km

Stage six will take place entirely within Suffolk, a first for the county, heading east from Newmarket to the finish in the centre of Aldeburgh, birthplace of composer Benjamin Britain, on the Suffolk coast.

Among the towns who can look forward to welcoming the world’s top professional cyclists during the 183-kilometre stage are Mildenhall, Bury St Edmunds, Eye, Framlingham and Woodbridge.

Stage 7 - Saturday 9 September
Hemel Hempstead - Cheltenham
185km

Cheltenham will host the finish of the penultimate stage of the Tour of Britain as the peloton race through the Cotswolds to arrive in the historic spa town on Saturday 9 September.

Stage seven o will start in Hemel Hempstead, crossing Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire before passing through Bourton-on-the-Water, Stow-on-the-Wold and Moreton-in-Marsh.

The stage will see a SKODA King of the Mountains climb of Cleeve Hill inside the final 10-kilometres, before finishing in the centre of Cheltenham, the first time that the town will have hosted the Tour of Britain, alongside their own Festival of Cycling.

The SKODA King of the Mountains stage

Stage 8 - Sunday 10 September
Worcester - Cardiff
180km

The Tour of Britain will finish in Wales for the first time in 2017, as Cardiff hosts the final stage on Sunday 10 September.

It will be just the fourth time since the race was revived in 2004, and the first time since 2012, that the Tour of Britain has finished outside of London, and coincides with Visit Wales’ Year of Legends.

Cardiff will welcome the Tour of Britain for the first time, with the 180-kilometre stage beginning in Worcester and passing through Monmouthshire and Newport, before finishing on King Edward VII Avenue, alongside Cardiff City Hall.

Brits to watch

2017 Tour of Britain teams

Team Sky are sending proud Welshmen Geraint Thomas and Owain Doull to ride the 2017 tour which, for the first time finishes in the Welsh capital, Cardiff.

Thomas will be back on duty after his exceptional start to the Tour de France, winning the yellow jersey on stage one, and subsequent retirement from the race following a crash.

Doull returns to the Tour of Britain, after finishing third in 2015 for Team Wiggins, off the back of a successful campaign at the Tour du Poitou Charentes where he finished seventh.

Team Sky's British line up will be completed by Tao Geoghegan Hart; the 22-year-old has enjoyed an excellent first year in Sky's colours and will be looking to perform well on home turf.

Alex Dowsett is chomping at the bit to line up for the 2017 Tour; the time trial stage, Dowestt’s speciality, is in his home town of Clacton and the Movistar rider is keen to put on a show for home support.

The Great Britain Cycling Team are sending a squad of under-23 riders who have showed great promise on the international stage this year.

The jerseys

The OVO Energy Green Jersey

2017 OVO Energy Green Jersey Tour of Britain

Awarded to the rider leading overall, the green jersey is what every rider in the tour seeks to pull on. The green jersey is easy to spot in the peloton, identifying the leader for spectators and letting the peloton know where the top rider is.

Last year’s winner: Steve Cummings

Wiggle Points Jersey

2017 Wiggle Points Jersey Tour of Britain

The points jersey is awarded to the most consistent finisher in the Tour of Britain.

The first 15 riders across the finish line are awarded points from 15 down to one, with the rider who has accumulated the most points so far wearing the blue and white jersey, sponsored by Wiggle.

Last year’s winner: Dylan Groenewegen

SKODA King of the Mountains Jersey

2017 SKODA King of the Mountains Tour of Britain

Awarded to the best climber in the Tour of Britain, riders battle for points over several designated SKODA King of the Mountains climbs on every road stage of The Tour.

Rated according to their difficulty, the first riders across the summit win points to lay claim to the equivalent to the Tour de France’s spotty jersey.

Last year’s winner: Xandro Meurisse

Eisberg Sprints Jersey

2017 Eisberg Sprints Jersey Tour of Britain

Each road stage of the Tour of Britain features three intermediate sprints, where points are awarded.

Highly popular with fans, riders battle it out to be first across the line to claim points, and for bonus seconds to be taken off their overall race time.

If the overall lead for the Tour of Britain is tight, expect the battle for the time bonuses to be intense, just as in 2007 when an intermediate sprint helped decide who won the race overall.

Last year’s winner: Jasper Bovenhuis

How to follow the race

  • Full coverage each day on ITV4, plus a one-hour highlights programme every evening.
  • Eurosport will show the last three hours of each stage live.
  • Live blog on the Tour of Britain website each day.
  • Report on British Cycling website.
  • Updates @BritishCycling on Twitter.