Tour coup as iconic cycling race heads to Saddleworth

THOUSANDS of spectators will flock to Saddleworth in September after confirmation of the route for the 2019 Ovo Tour of Britain.

It will be the first time a professional road cycling event has passed through the area since the Milk Race around 30 years ago.

But any hope of Saddleworth hosting a stage of the Tour of Yorkshire appears unlikely.

Five-time Olympic champion Sir Bradley Wiggins is a former winner of the iconic 1,250 kilometres race taking place from Saturday, September 7-14.

The eighth and final leg of the Tour is a 165 kilometres circuit of all Greater Manchester’s 10 boroughs including Tameside and Oldham.

Entering Saddleworth from Mossley by the Royal George pub at Greenfield, the route travels into Uppermill via Well-i-hole and then on to Delph.

At Delph, one of the day’s toughest climbs begins as riders tackle Grains Road for a King of the Mountains challenge. Once the climb is complete the field heads to Rochdale via Buckstones Road.

With the UCI Road World Championships taking place in Harrogate a week later many of the top teams including Ineous (ex-Team Sky) will be in attendance.

David Wheeler, a keen local cyclist and member of the Saddleworth Clarion cycling club said: “This is a wonderful opportunity for people of Saddleworth to witness a great spectacle,

“Many people went to watch the Tour de France and I expect the same with the Tour of Britain.

“With the event on television this a great opportunity for people to showcase Saddleworth.”

A spokesperson for Oldham Council said: “We have a group of officers working on this across a range of services which includes road repair checks.”

News of the Tour’s arrival will compensate for repeatedly missing out on a visit from the Tour of Yorkshire held annually in May.

The Independent has previously been contacted by readers enquiring about the possibility of hosting a stage.

We understand T o Y organisers are reluctant because Saddleworth, despite its historic White Rose links, is classed as a Greater Manchester parish and Welcome to Yorkshire – the county’s official destination management organisation-organise it is to “promote Yorkshire”.

The 2019 Tour of Britain starts in George Square, Glasgow, on September 7 and take riders through the south of Scotland, England’s North East and North West and the Heart of England before the overall finale for the first time in Manchester on September 14.

“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,” said Race Director Mick Bennett.

“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.”

British Cycling Chief Executive Julie Harrington said: “The OVO Energy Tour of Britain goes from strength to strength each year and has captured the hearts and minds of the nation to become a staple in the British sporting calendar

“We share with all our event partners a determination that these events should not only showcase the very best of cycling at the highest level but provide necessary inspiration for people across Great Britain to get out on their bikes.”

ITV4 will once screen live free-to-air coverage flag-to-flag of each stage in the UK, along with a nightly highlights programme of the best of the action.

The full route is:
Stage 1, Saturday 7: Glasgow to Kirkcudbright, 201.5km

Stage 2, September 8:, The Scottish Borders Stage, 166.4km

Stage 3 September 9: Berwick-upon-Tweed to Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 182.2km

Stage 4 September 10: Gateshead to Kendal, 171.5km

Stage 5 September 11: The Wirral Stage, 174km

Stage 6, September 12:, The Worcestershire Stage, TBA

Stage 7 September 13: Warwick to Burton Dassett Country Park, 186.5km

Stage 8 September 14: Altrincham to Manchester, 165km

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