André Greipel and Alex Dowsett both criticise this year's pre and post-race transfers.

Saturday’s Tour of Britain stage winner André Greipel and Alex Dowsett have both criticised this year’s pre and post-race transfers.

Organiser SweetSpot have worked hard to reduce the amount of travelling during the race in recent years, with last year’s edition being notably short on travel time.

However, riders have experienced approximately 1,050 kilometres of travel between stages in this year’s edition, barely 400 kilometres shorter than the total race distance.

“I’ve seen a sign for Carlisle every day,” said Dowsett. “We’ve been up and down, up and down Britain. Let’s start at the top and work down, or vice versa.”

Greipel and his Lotto-Soudal team-mate Marcel Sieberg had previously been the most prominent riders to voice their frustrations with the transfers, most notably after Thursday’s stage to Hartside Fell, which was followed by a four-hour transfer to the outskirts of Stoke-on-Trent.

“The whole week has been hard, sometimes it’s been a bit too much, and the transfers mean this race takes us to the limits,” said Greipel, who pipped Elia Viviani to win in Ipswich on Saturday afternoon. “It’s not always good this race, we have to speak about the bad things.

“It’s not professional if you arrive at the hotel at 8pm and then leave at 8am, and have transfers of 270 kilometres. You’re tired and everybody in the race – from the motorbike drives to our staff, who I think are sleeping six hours each night, is tired.

“I just hope that the UCI is taking care of this; rules have to be made for this. It’s nice for the crowd that the race takes us everywhere in Britain, but we have to pay for it.”

Watch Cycling Weekly’s preview of this year’s Tour of Britain

Every team faced one more notable transfer on Saturday night: travelling from the stage finish to their hotels in Heathrow Airport, a distance of 165 kilometres.

Dowsett added: “I haven’t a clue why – we’re racing in London tomorrow, and we’re off to the far side of it to stay tonight. Staying in Brentwood would make sense; that’s an hour away, Heathrow could be four.”

SweetSpot officials were unavailable for comment on Saturday afternoon.

  • Mark Jones

    The London stage always seems such a waste. If it has to finish in London then can the final stage not start outside of London to reduce the travelling times for the riders?

  • Mark Jones

    I agree and thought one of the stipulations of being granted HC status was that they had to reduce the transfer times. Last year was more joined up and they need to sort it out for the next edition.

  • Indurainslungs

    Ha! I think the NIMBYs would explode if the ToB came to the New Forest!!!

  • J1

    I hate the fact they always have to include London, with a boring crit usually. Just keep it up North/North Wales, better riding up here 😛

    Although, have you seen the team buses? I’d not find it hard to relax or sleep on one of those, they have as much stuff as a house. I would say it’s not great to have disrupted rest though.

  • lee

    Quite true! Last year and the year before the NW of GB got it lucky. Just backing up what KD says. or as the riders desire north south / east west or whatever but all over the place…

    Additionally, I think Sweetspot ask various areas if they want the race etc..

    Lastly, Sweetspot won the right to organise the race as I understand, ASO wanted it.. but lost the chance of the licence and got the Tour of Yorkshire which is better organised, obviously.

  • Kevino Daviessss

    I think they have got carried away by trying to include, North and Southern England , Wales and Scotland in the TOB, they have to rotate this and use sectors of the UK on a bi or tri annual basis. This year didn’t need Ipswich or London finish on last two days, It could have been, Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool or Glasgow.? Next year it could have been new forest, South Wales, South East, South West stages with a London finish?

  • RobTM

    If you look at AB’s posts, you’ll see a general pattern of slagging ppl off to be provocative, often with little or no evidential basis

  • Andrew Bairsto

    Better there be no tour than have sweetspot run it but they did not resurrect the tour they were asked to run it though.

  • Rob

    Not the biggest problem is it really in cycling when you have your feet up at the end of the stage…

  • Jones

    You know sweetspot resserected the Tour of britain, there wouldnt be a tour if it wasnt for them. Numpty!

  • Andrew Bairsto

    I agree but I do not think it had much going for it not since the last milk race Sweetspot are the last people I would have organising any event they are only interested in making money the cycling is irrelevant to them.

  • dourscot

    The ToB has lost its mojo on a number of levels.