Bring Tour of Britain back to Westminster

Bike racing is big on tradition – there’s more than 100 years of it surrounding the classics of our sport. If only we could capitalise on it: familiar dates and venues, that’s the way to build your fanbase.

Westminster stages are the best supported of any Tour of Britain but after a couple of years in the capital the race was pushed out to Docklands.

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It was no fault of the organisers, the visit of Benedict XVI sidelined the UK’s premier bike race to the Excel exhibition centre and considering the scale of security surrounding the Pope, I suppose it was surprising there was any bike race at all.

There were decidedly fewer fans than previous years, but given the decidedly unglamorous setting I was impressed that so many still made the journey.

Hopefully the Westminster stage will be reinstated for 2011. It needs to be a permanent fixture on the capital’s sporting calendar.

Britain’s single-day World Cup race had the makings of a proper classic but unfortunately it was bounced around four venues in the nine years before the UCI gave it to Germany in 1998.

Imagine if we had been able to keep the Wincanton Classic in Brighton – it would have been running for 20 years by now and could have grown to rival many of the spring Classics.

Robert Garbutt is editor of Cycling Weekly