Bad weather, ridiculous transfers, even risky tactics, it can only be the Tour of Britain. Flawed it may be, but after seven years I have learned to love our national tour, warts and all.

We’d all certainly miss it if it were gone. With the exception of a Tour de France stage once a decade it’s still the only chance to see world-class riders racing on our roads.

OK, the record for world’s longest transfer was broken on Wednesday with the drive from Glastonbury to King’s Lynn but the positive here is that more of the population get to see the race. No other eight-day event covers so much ground and who says the starts and finishes need to be joined up?

Everyone who braved the elements to cheer the riders on Saturday’s sodden opening stage deserves a medal. It certainly looked grim, particularly on Blackpool Promenade. But what happens as soon as the last rider has finished? Out comes the sun!

And only the ToB could clash with the Pope’s first trip to the capital in 28 years. It’s a bizarre coincidence that it just happens to be on the exact same day and on the exact same roads as those proposed for the final stage.

Robert Garbutt is editor of Cycling Weekly

  • Mark D. Williams

    Tour of Britain 2010.
    You report that some of the pros said that this year’s route was ‘too hard’, which has been met with derision from some older riders.
    The epic stage 3 to Swansea, up Constitution Hill (in the rain), reminded me when the race climbed the hill three times in1993 (in dry conditions). As Tony Bell reported at the time, not of all the riders felt like climbing the hill more than once. So some of them hid the the sidestreets, waiting for the peleton to go past and then tagged onto the back after the peleton’s third circuit of the city.
    Perhaps Tony B. could be dragged out of retirement to finally name and shame the riders concerned as they’ve surely all retired by now?

    Mark Williams
    Swansea Wheelers C.C.