The detailed route of the Stoke-on-Trent to Llanberis stage of this year’s Tour of Britain has been revealed.
The city will host the start of the fourth stage of the national race on Wednesday, September 18. Top names from the world of cycling will set off from outside the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery in the city centre at 10.45am as they embark on the 118-mile route.
From the museum, riders will head down Albion Street and Lichfield Street before cycling down Potteries Way and Lichfield Street.
The cyclists will then head down the A52 Leek Road, pass through Stoke town centre and head up London Road to Trent Vale.
From there, they will pass under the A500 bridge at Hanford and take the A34 Stone Road before heading up Longton Road and out of the city on Barlaston Old Road as they make their way towards Wales.
There will be a minimum of 16 professional teams from around the world taking part in the race and around 100 of the world’s top cyclists, making it a truly international event with highlights of the Stoke-on-Trent stage being seen all over the world on television.
This year will be the sixth time the race has been staged in Stoke-on-Trent and the perfect chance for people to watch a free, top-class televised event. Thousands of people have lined the streets and attended both the start and finish of the race when it has come to Stoke-on-Trent in the past and organisers hope to see more of the same this year.
Last year 261,000 people watched the stage on our streets live on TV, with 694,000 watching the highlights – the highest figure for any of the eight stages. Some 130,000 people lined the route of the race across Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire.
Councillor Adrian Knapper, cabinet member for sport and leisure, said:
“We’re delighted to be welcoming the Tour of Britain back to the city for the sixth time, just months after we staged the highly successful Tour Series race here.
“The Tour of Britain has become one of the key highlights of our sporting calendar and the thousands of people who turn out to support the race and cheer on the cyclists goes to show how the race has really captured the public’s imagination since it first arrived here, and is helping us become known as one of the nation’s capitals for cycling.
“Many of us will have watched on with great pride at the weekend as Chris Froome became the second Britain to win the Tour de France, carrying on from the success we achieved with Sir Bradley Wiggins and the Olympics last year.
“Seeing top class cyclists on our roads will be a real inspiration to all the spectators lining the streets and I hope it could inspire a future Tour de France winner here in Stoke-on-Trent. Our city has a wonderful network of greenways for cycling which is key to our Mandate for Change principles of promoting healthy and independent lifestyles for our residents.
“We have more than 100 miles of cycle routes including many quiet off-road routes including greenways, canal towpaths and river routes where you can explore the many tourist attractions Stoke-on-Trent has to offer.
“I’m sure the city will be buzzing come 10.45am on September 18 and I can’t wait to see the race get under way.”
Hoping to ride once again this year will be team Rapha Condor JLT, one of Britain’s top pro cycling teams. Last year’s SKODA King of the Mountains winner Kristian House, from Middlewich, and recent Tour of Korea winner Mike Cuming, from Biddulph Moor, were at the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery on Thursday to help officially launch Stage Four.
“The Stoke-on-Trent stage has always been one of the toughest in The Tour of Britain, and with this year’s finish in Wales I am sure that will be no different. It’s always nice to race in Stoke-on-Trent because of the support and enthusiasm we get from spectators.”
Race Director Mick Bennett said:
“It’s great to be returning to Stoke-on-Trent again for its sixth consecutive year of hosting a Tour of Britain Stage and we couldn’t be more excited as it is The Tour of Britain’s tenth anniversary. Each year attracts some of the world’s top cyclists who take to the roads of Britain, cheered on by millions of spectators across the country. We hope that this year that even more people will come and watch to make The Tour of Britain’s tenth anniversary one to remember.”
The Tour of Britain starts in Scotland on Sunday, September 15 and finishes in London a week later.
Before the Tour of Britain arrives, the Trentham Estate will host the start and finish of the Tour Ride on Sunday, September 1. Since 2009, this mass participation event for all riders has attracted thousands of cyclists wanting to experience what it is like for the professional riders.
There is a choice of the Pro 100 mile route or the Challenge 50 mile route. The Tour Ride takes in parts of the Tour of Britain professional route including the challenging Gun Hill, north of Leek, the scene of many battles between top international cyclists.
The council has teamed up with the Donna Louise Trust and Douglas Macmillan Hospice to offer people who take part in the Tour Ride and raise money for either or both of the charities a reduced entry fee.
Everyone who takes part will receive the professional treatment with fantastic feed stops, well signed routes, mechanical service, motorbike outriders as well as a rousing reception with full Tour of Britain finish experience. To enter the Tour Ride and for more information, visit www.tourride.co.uk/stoke