A very British tour

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.

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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