Tour of Britain set to begin on its journey to Harlow
Sport / Sun 3rd Sep 2023 at 08:04am
SUNDAY will see the much-anticipated return of the Tour of Britain, the UK’s leading cycle race, a year on from being curtailed after five stages.
Greater Manchester will host the Grand Départ, starting eight days of racing that will cover over 1,200 kilometres around the country. The race is expected to attract a roadside crowd of over one million spectators, and contribute over £20m of net economic benefit.
Two former champions – Wout van Aert (Jumbo – Visma) and Gonzalo Serrano (Movistar Team) – are among those competing.
This year marks van Aert’s return to the race two years on from his dominant debut outing. The Belgian won four stages en route to claiming the overall victory, but will co-lead Jumbo – Visma this team around alongside Dutchman Olav Kooij.
“it’s the ideal scenario but it’s not up to me if I win four stages, I think we will see. There’s a lot of bunch sprints in this year’s course, with Olav [Kooij] we really aim to go for the sprints and that’s how we want to start the week, at the end of the week we have two hard stages and we will see if it’s possible to go for GC again,” said van Aert.
“I think the last two are hard stages and especially the last one with the steep climbs so close to the finish I think this will be really decisive and of course the stage where I really look forward to the most. I just want to enjoy racing again and win as a team, I think we have someone here to go for every stage and hopefully win as many as possible.”
Spanish rider Serrano will seek to become the first rider to win back-to-back titles, having been crowned last year’s winner by virtue of leading the race when it was cancelled following the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
Home interest comes in the form of Tom Pidcock, the British Olympic and world champion, who finished second overall in 2022. He leads a strong INEOS Grenadiers team that also features Tour de France stage winner Carlos Rodriguez.
Returning stage winners include Welshman Luke Rowe (INEOS Grenadiers), Colombian sprinter Fernando Gaviria (Movistar Team), and Irishman Sam Bennett (BORA – hansgrohe), who won the last time the race visited Caerphilly, where this year’s champion will be crowned.
“It’s true: without that stage victory, I wouldn’t be here today,” said Bennett. “If I hadn’t taken that win in Caerphilly, I would have gone back to university in Ireland. Instead, the win opened the door to the professional peloton for me.”
The Tour of Britain 2023 covers eight stages and over 1,200 kilometres of racing around the country. Following the Greater Manchester Grand Départ, the race will visit North Wales, East Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire, Suffolk, Essex, Gloucestershire, and South Wales.
ITV4 will show all eight stages live and in full, with international coverage available in over 150 countries thanks to Eurosport and GCN+.
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Tour de Harlow 🏁 🚴♂️💨 ( Go West) where the skies are blue, life is peaceful (Here) there..