Britain’s largest professional bicycle race, The Tour of Britain, is set to be larger than ever this year when it starts in Scunthorpe on Saturday September 12th.
The Tour, ranked in the 2.1 category by the UCI, will cover more UK towns than before and will see more of the teams that competed in its long-established French counterpart.
Craig Brophy, head of marketing and PR for the Tour, told BikeBiz: “This year sees eight teams that competed in the Tour de France take part in The Tour of Britain. This is a big step up from 2008 where we only had five teams take part.”
“In addition to this, the race visits new towns through the different stages, such as Devon. Plus we also have slightly less transfers. The 2009 event will also see us using a new barrier system, which should make the loading and unloading of each stage a lot quicker.”
The event organisers also expect the increasingly high profile of cycling in the UK to boost coverage and attendance: “The success of Team GB at the Olympics, Mark Cavendish and Bradley Wiggins at the Tour de France, and most recently the successful city centre racing from The Tour Series – has without a doubt raised the interest in the sport,” said Brophy. “And as The Tour of Britain is the UK’s biggest free to attend event, people from all over the country can come along and watch the world’s best.”
Distributor Saddleback has signed up as the Official Neutral Service Provider for the next three years and will provide SRAM-equipped Felt road bicycles and Zipp wheels for the event.
ITV4 will provide coverage of the race, which will conclude in London on September 19th.