Monday 5 September 2011

Tour of Britain 2011

Cycling's popularity in the United Kingdom is increasing with every year; meaning that the Tour of Britain, after having been brought back to life by SweetSpot in 2004, is going from strength to strength. Ranked as 2.1 Elite race by the international cycling body UCI, it's the largest cycling event in the country and - being by far the largest free-to-watch sport event in Britain and visiting several parts of the country - can draw over a million spectators with many more following the action on television and via the Internet.

Mark Cavendish
Running over eight days and visiting various places from Scotland to Devon, the 2011 Tour has attracted some of the biggest names in the sport. Among the 16 teams taking part are many of the professional outfits better known from the Tour de France, including LeopardTrek, the top-notch Luxembourg team of Andy Schleck and the world's top time-trial rider Fabian "Spartacus" Cancellara; Sky, the British team and home to such illustrious characters as Chris Froome, Geraint Thomas, Ben Swift and Britain's greatest-ever Tour de France hopeful Bradley Wiggins; HTC-Highroad, one of the most successful teams to ever compete in cycling and this year racing for the final time having been unsuccessful in securing a sponsor for 2012 and Garim-Cervelo, riding some of the most futuristic bikes in the business and perhaps the only team with a manager even better known than his riders, the colourful Jonathon Vaughters.

Confirmed: Thor Hushovd
Riders confirmed for the race include "Manx Missile" Mark Cavendish, the greatest sprinter in history and commonly known as the fastest man on two wheels, "God of Thunder" Thor Hushovd, the first Scandinavian to hold the World Cycling Champion title and German superstar Jens Voigt, possibly the most popular professional cyclist of the moment, still one of the fastest and strongest in the world at the age of 39 when most cyclists have long since retired. Other teams are yet to confirm their rosters, but they'll all be sending the best riders they have to stand a chance of competing with these giants of the road.

Jens Voigt
With eight stages including one each in Scotland and Wales, there's a high chance that the action is coming to the roads near you - so why not get out and experience the sheer thrill of a major cycling event? We hope to be able to bring you exclusive photographs from the start of Stage 7 this year. See you there?

11th September Stage 1: Peebles - Dumfries (170.3km)
12th September Stage 2: Kendal - Blackpool (137.7km)
13th September Stage 3: Trentham Estate - Stoke on Trent (140km)
14th September Stage 4: Welshpool - Caerphilly (183.7km)
15th September Stage 5: Exeter-Exmouth
16th September Stage 6: Taunton - Wells
17th September Stage 7: Bury St. Edmunds - Sandringham Royal Estate
18th September Stage 8: Routes A and B Time Trials, London

Once again, we'll be bringing you our traditional detailed stage guides (lauded by one reviewer as the "most in-depth" available) with all the usual facts on the riders, the parcours and the towns, villages and countryside that the race passes through. Look out for each new guide the evening before the stage takes place.

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