"I've seen signs for Carlisle every day": Riders hit out at Tour of Britain transfers

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

Team Sky bus, Tour de France 2012 presentation

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.

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“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.

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Nick Bull is an NCTJ qualified journalist who has written for a range of titles, as well as being a freelance writer at Beat Media Group, which provides reports for the PA Media wire which is circulated to the likes of the BBC and Eurosport. His work at Cycling Weekly predominantly dealt with professional cycling, and he now holds a role as PR & Digital Manager at SweetSpot Group, which organises the Tour of Britain.