The Tour of Britain returns to central London for 2011, with a final stage criterium around Westminster finishing on Whitehall on Sunday, September 18.
Westminster played host to the finale of the Tour of Britain in 2008 and 2009 but the race was forced out to Newham, Docklands, in 2010 due to a clash with Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to London.
The final stage criterium circuit will be the same as that used in previous editions of the race, providing a spectator-friendly fast finale that passes some of London’s most iconic landmarks, including the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, Trafalgar Square, Tower of London and Victoria Embankment.
The event is just a stone’s throw from the start/finish of the 2012 Olympic Games road race route on the Mall – and takes place just a week before the 2011 road race World Championships in Copenhagen.
“As Britain’s biggest professional cycle race and this country’s largest free-to-spectate sporting event it is important that we finish with an iconic finale, and as we showed in 2008 and 2009 there is no better place to hold the Tour of Britain than at the heart of London,” said Hugh Roberts, chief executive of race organisers Sweetspot.
“This is a major commitment from us as organisers of the Tour of Britain, and we can now look forward to working with our partners Transport for London over the coming months to make Sunday 18th September a great celebration of cycling and a huge success for all parties.”
Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, added: “The Tour of Britain is a fantastic event and I am thrilled to be able to support it. I would urge Londoners and visitors to turn out and cheer on the cyclists as they whizz past some of the capital’s iconic landmarks and raise money for a really worthwhile cause.”
A full support programme of events is being planned, including a Prostate Cancer Charity Tour Ride, events aimed at schoolchildren and a corporate fund-raising event.
The eight-stage, UCI 2.1-ranked 2011 Tour of Britain starts in the Scottish Borders Council and Dumfries and Galloway on September 11. Full details of the 2011 ToB route will be announced at the race’s official launch in April.
Michele Merlo winning on Whitehall in 2009
Tour of Britain: Stage winners in Westminster
2009: Michele Merlo (Italy) Barloworld
2008: Alessandro Petacchi (Italy) LPR Brakes
Tour of Britain: Previous overall winners
2010: Michael Albasini (Switzerland)
2009: Edvald Boasson Hagen (Norway)
2008: Geoffroy Lequatre (France)
2007: Romain Feillu (France)
2006: Martin Pedersen (Denmark)
2005: Nick Nuyens (Belgium)
2004: Mauricio Ardila (Colombia)
Tour of Britain stage 8 route map (from 2009). Click on the image to enlarge in a new window
Scotland getting ready for 2011 Tour of Britain start
Leopard-Trek sign up for 2011 Tour of Britain
2012 Olympic road race route officially revealed
Tour of Britain 2010: Cycling Weekly’s coverage index