Liverpool criterium to open 2014 Tour of Britain

The Beatles' home city returns to the race for the first time since 2008.

Mark Cavendish wins, Tour of Britain 2013, stage four

Ten laps of a 13-kilometre circuit around Liverpool will kick start this year's Tour of Britain, it was confirmed this morning.

The Merseyside city last hosted the national tour in 2008, when it welcomed the final stage from Blackpool. On that day, Mark Cavendish's current team-mate Alessandro Petacchi took the victory.

However, the opening leg of the 2014 edition on September 7 will comprise of a criterium event that both starts and finishes outside the Royal Liver Building.

Riders will head along Upper Parliament Street, where the first King of the Mountains points of the race will be available, and then through the picturesque Sefton Park.

The full route of the eight-day race (September 7-14) will be confirmed in London tonight at 7pm.

However, CW understands that the penultimate stage will start in Camberley, Surrey, and finish along Brighton's Madeira Drive via the challenging Ditchling Beacon climb.

In February, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) confirmed that the Tour of Britain would be awarded Hors Categorie status, elevating it into the same league as the likes of Criterium International and the Tour of California.

Tour of Britain 2008

Alessandro Petacchi wins in Liverpool during the 2008 Tour of Britain

Crocknorth Road, Tour of Britain 2013, stage seven

Tour of Britain awarded hors catégorie status

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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.