Just as British cyclists continue to enjoy more and more success on the road, the nation’s premier race – the Tour of Britain – has over the years matured into a very respectable stage race.
Now into its 10th edition, the race now attracts some of the biggest names in cycling. Home heroes Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish both line up for the 2013 race, but British fans will also have the chance to see Tour de France revelation Nairo Quintana and Irish star Dan Martin from the roadside.
Having grown from a humble six-day long race to one consisting of eight stages, the Tour of Britain earns more prestige this year thanks to a route that looks set to be the most challenging to date, including a first ever hill-top finish.
It’s not just the difficulty of the route that appeals, either; this year sees the peloton visit some of the most picturesque areas that the British Isles has to offer. None more so than the beautiful Scottish countryside that surrounds Drumlanrig Castle, the destination of stage one, while a part of Hadrian’s Wall is visited in a hilly stage two that seeds the peloton enter England.
Stage three’s time trial is likely to be the first major shakeup in the GC. Though, lasting just 16 kilometres around Knowsley safari park, it is not a particularly long time trial, races against the clock always cause time gaps and offers the chance for specialists – like Bradley Wiggins – to assert themselves.
Fortunately for the punchy climbers, there are plenty of hills in the following stages for them to take back the time lost in this time trial. Stage four’s route from Stoke to Llanberis, while stage five sees the peloton tackle many a hilly Welsh road – none more so than Caerphilly Mountain, a climb that has been crucial in recent editions and is this time ascended twice.
Stage six features the race’s aforementioned first hilltop finish. With two less challenging stage taking place at the weekend, this final accent into Haytor is likely to feature much action as the climbers attempt to make the most of their last chance to gain time, even if its 400 metre height isn’t the most imposing.
Following a stage into Guilford that looks set to either be contested by the sprinters or a successful early breakaway, the final day of the race consists of ten laps around London, taking in some of the capital’s most famous sights. By now we’ll know the winner of the gold jersey, and one final, spectacular bunch sprint will see the 2013 Tour of Britain come to a close.
Tour of Britain 2013: stages
|1||Sun Sept 15||Peebles||Drumlanrig Castle||209.9km||
|2||Mon Sept 16||Carlisle||Kendal||186.6km||>>>|
|3||Tues Sept 17||Knowsley||Knowsley||16km ITT||>>>|
|4||Weds Sept 18||Stoke-on-Trent||Llanberis||188.4km||>>>|
|5||Thurs Sept 19||Machnynlleth||Caerphilly||177.1km||>>>|
|6||Fri Sept 20||Sidmouth||Haytor||137km||>>>|
|7||Sat Sept 21||Epsom||Guildford||155km||>>>|
|8||Sun Sept 22||London||London||88km||>>>|
Tour of Britain jerseys
IG Gold jersey
Just like the Tour de France’s iconic yellow jersey, the Tour of Britain’s gold equivalent is awarded to the rider with the fastest cumulative time at the end of every stage. The jersey changed hands a record six times in 2012, whereas in 2005 Belgian Nick Nuyens wore it from start to finish.
2012 winner: Jon Tiernan-Locke (Endura Racing)
Chain Reaction Cycles Points jersey
Worn by the rider who collects the most points from stage finishes. The first 15 across the line score points on a 15 down to one basis. Mark Cavendish won this in 2006 and 2007 – the only time any rider has ever successfully defended any of the jerseys at the Tour of Britain.
2012 winner: Boy Van Poppel (UnitedHealthcare)
Skoda King Of The Mountains jersey
Redesigned for 2013, this is worn by the rider who collects the most points from the categorised climbs that lie along the route. Andy Schleck won the title in 2006, while the last two victors have been from John Herety’s Rapha Condor JTL team.
2012 winner: Kristian House (Rapha Condor Sharp)
Yodel Sprints jersey
The rider who collects the highest number of points across the intermediate sprints (three per each road stage) wins this jersey. Former Paris-Roubaix winner Johan Van Summeren is among the past victors.
2012 winner: Pete Williams (Node4-Giordana)
Tour of Britain 2013: Teams
Omega Pharma-Quick Step
Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox
AN Post Chain Reaction
Rapha Condor JLT
Tour of Britain 2013: TV coverage
The 2013 Tour of Britain will be shown live on ITV4 (from Monday’s stage onwards) and on British Eurosport. Both channels will also show an evening highlights package.
Tour of Britain: Last year’s top ten (2012)
1. Jonathan Tiernan-Locke (GBr) Endura in 33-11-22
2. Nathan Haas (Aus) Garmin-Sharp at 18 secs
3. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale at 23 secs
4. Leigh Howard (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge at 1-02
5. Christopher Jones (USA) UnitedHealthcare at 1-12
6. Bartosz Huzarski (Pol) NetApp at 2-01
7. David Le Lay (Fra) Saur-Sojasun
8. Boy Van Poppel (Ned) UnitedHealthcare at 2-14
9. Christian Knees (Ger) Sky at 2-25
10. Jerome Coppel (Fra) Saur-Sojasun at 4-30
Tour of Britain: Previous winners
2012 Jonathan Tiernan-Locke (Great Britain)
2011 Lars Boom (Netherlands)
2010 Michael Albasini (Switzerland)
2009 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Norway)
2008 Geoffroy Lequatre (France)
2007 Romain Feillu (France)
2006 Martin Pedersen (Denmark)
2005 Nick Nuyens (Belgium)
2004 Mauricio Ardila (Colombia)