Tour of Britain stage one
When: Sunday, September 7
For the first time since 2008, the organisers have opted for a circuit stage to kick off the Tour of Britain. In 2008, the depart was held in London — usually the climax of the race — and was won by Alessandro Petacchi in an inevitable bunch sprint. The race made its way northwards, with Liverpool its final destination. For 2014, that order has been reversed, with Liverpool playing host to the opening stage.
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The riders will tackle eight laps of 16.25km around Liverpool city centre, heading eastwards into Sefton Park, where in 2007 a stage began, then westwards to the finish line on The Strand by the famous Royal Liver Building.
This is about as straightforward a stage as they could have hoped. There are no real hills en route, although, in keeping with the race’s structure — ensuring three official climbs on each day’s racing — the small rise on Upper Parliament Street around 5km into the circuit has been classified as a category-three climb. The roads aren’t too technical and there aren’t many tight bends, ensuring a relatively clean run in for the sprint finish.
At 130km in length, it is also the shortest road stage of the race, aside from the final split stage, ensuring a relatively easy day in the saddle for the riders. For all the GC riders, this will be more of a warm-up and a chance to acclimatise themselves to potentially cold British conditions.
START: Liverpool 14:15
FINISH: Liverpool 16:45