CYCLING: Manchester to stage Tour of Britain finale

Julian Alaphilippe of France was last year's Tour of Britain winner
Julian Alaphilippe of France was last year's Tour of Britain winner

The Tour of Britain will finish in Manchester city centre for the first time in 25 years when Britain’s biggest professional bike race takes place this September.

The race usually finishes in London but the 2019 edition starts in Glasgow on Saturday, September 7, and gets no further south than Worcestershire in an eight-day, 1,250-kilometre route that passes through southern Scotland, England’s North East, the North West and the Midlands.

Bookended by visits to Glasgow and Manchester, the route also includes uphill finishes in Newcastle, Kendal and Warwickshire’s Burton Dassett Country Park.

In a statement, race director Mick Bennett said: “This year’s race is a quintessentially British affair, combining the short and sharp climbs we’re famed for with finishes for the world’s best sprinters and, hopefully, a few surprises along the way.

“But more than ever, this year’s OVO Energy Tour of Britain route has been designed with spectators in mind.

“From visiting three iconic cities and including uphill finishes that are guaranteed to create drama to using finishing circuits, this year’s race will play a big role in helping Britain become a great cycling nation.”

Manchester city centre, home to national governing body British Cycling, has not hosted a Tour of Britain stage since 2004, the year the race was relaunched after a five-year absence.

British Cycling chief executive Julie Harrington said the race “has captured the hearts and minds of the nation to become a staple of the British sporting calendar” but this year’s route was “extra special” as it included Manchester.

The race will finish on Saturday, September 14, but a day later Manchester will also host HSBC’s UK Let’s Ride, a family cycling festival on closed roads in the city centre.

ITV4 will be providing live coverage of the entire Tour of Britain, which was won last year by French star Julian Alaphilippe, with a nightly highlights programme also scheduled.

The 2019 Tour of Britain route:

Stage 1: Saturday, September 7, Glasgow to Kirkcudbright, 201.5km; Stage 2: Sunday, September 8, Kelso to Kelso, 166.4km; Stage 3: Monday, September 9, Berwick-upon-Tweed 
to Newcastle, 182.2km; 
Stage 4: Tuesday, September 10, Gateshead to Kendal, 171.5km; Stage 5: Wednesday, September 11, Birkenhead Park to Birkenhead 
Park, 174km; Stage 6: Thursday, September 12, 
The Worcestershire stage, TBA; Stage 7: Friday, September 13, Warwick to Burton Dassett Country 
Park, 186.5km; Stage 8: Saturday, September 14, Altrincham to Manchester, 165km.