Wales will welcome the Tour of Britain this September, as the route for the 2016 edition has been revealed at the event launch in Bristol.
Stage 4 will depart Denbighshire on Wednesday 7 September finishing in Builth Wells. The following day will see stage 5 depart Aberdare as the race travels across South Wales through the Forest of Dean to a city centre finish in Bath.
In 2015, the Tour of Britain Grand Depart was held at Beaumaris, Anglesey with the stage finish in the heart of Wrexham and saw Wales’ Owain Doull finish third overall and take the Chain Reaction Cycles Points Jersey.
Anne Adams-King Chief Executive Officer, Welsh Cycling commented on the route announcement: “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. The event was absent from South Wales in 2015, but we are pleased to see stage 5 start in Aberdare as it travels across the border to finish in Bath.
As one of Britain’s greatest road cycling events, the Tour of Britain not only offers a fantastic race experience for the world’s best cyclists, but it is able to inspire more people to enjoy cycling.”
The course features an overall start in Glasgow and finale in the centre of London plus three stages in the south west of England via Wales, including a return to the summit finish of Haytor on Dartmoor, and a challenging individual time trial and circuit race split stage in the heart of Bristol on the penultimate day.
The opening stage will finish in Dumfries and Galloway’s Castle Douglas, last visited by the Tour of Britain in 2006, before the second stage takes place in Cumbria and the Lake District between Carlisle and Kendal, including the iconic climbs of Whinlatter Pass and The Struggle, before the uphill finish on Beast Banks.
The third stage of the Tour of Britain will feature a first visit to Cheshire East with a stage from Congleton to Tatton Park outside Knutsford, which will feature a spectator friendly loop giving fans at the finish the chance to see the race twice. The stage will also tackle the iconic 10-kilometre climb of the Cat and Fiddle in Cheshire’s Peak District.
Denbighshire will host its first stage start as stage four begins in Denbigh, heading south through Mid-Wales before Powys hosts a first stage finish, on the Royal Welsh Showground at Builth Wells.
Stage five begins in Wales in Rhondda Cynon Taf at Aberdare, heading across South Wales and through the Forest of Dean into Gloucestershire before the finish in Bath, a first for the city.
This will begin three days of racing in the South West after a one-year absence for the area from the Tour of Britain route that will see the world’s top teams head to Devon for a repeat of the 2013 summit finish at Haytor in the Dartmoor National Park.
Bristol will host the penultimate stage of the race, which will be a split stage with riders contesting an 15-kilometre individual time trial in the morning before a 5-lap circuit race in the afternoon. Both stages will take place entirely on a proposed 15.3-kilometre circuit finishing atop the Bristol Downs. The 600-metre Skoda King of the Mountains climb of Bridge Valley Road, which averages 9%, will feature in the final kilometres of a both stages.
London will again host the final stage, presented by Transport for London, on Sunday 11 September, which will use the same circuit as in 2015, focused on Regent Street, the Heart of London and the Northbank, with a repeat of the finish on Regent Street St James just below Piccadilly Circus.
Commenting on the route announcement, Tour of Britain race director Mick Bennett said; “We are confident that this year’s route for the Tour of Britain will provide the opportunity for eight exciting days of racing and a multitude of opportunities for riders and teams to be aggressive and make the race.
"We believe that with the combination of longer stages of over 200-kilometres, the tough circuit and time trial in Bristol and the summit finish at Haytor we have not just a great preparation for the world championships but also a fantastic race that will showcase the British countryside and stands alone in its own right as a race riders will want to win.”
“The route includes major cities such as Glasgow, Bristol, Bath and London, and visits each of Scotland, England and Wales, while at the same time touching many smaller communities and areas where we know the passion and support for cycling is so great.”
For the fifth successive year fans can look forward to enjoying daily live coverage of all eight stages on ITV4, with the channel broadcasting a three-hour live programme from each stage, plus one-hour of highlights every evening during the race.
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.