The Tour of Britain will be making a welcome return to Devon in September with a gruelling 115-mile route awaiting some of the world’s top cyclists.
Devon will host Stage Two of the 2021 Tour of Britain on Monday 6 September, starting in the new town of Sherford and finishing in Exeter.
The route takes in a number of communities on its way from the South Hams and across Dartmoor, including Ermington, Totnes, Dartmouth, Kingsbridge, Modbury, Ivybridge, Cornwood, Yelverton, Tavistock, Princetown, Moretonhampstead and Dunsford.
There are three ŠKODA King of the Mountains climbs on a challenging stage. They are at Strete at the end of a two kilometre climb from Blackpool Sands, the 8.7 kilometre climb of Rundlestone above Tavistock, which has previously been used by the Tour of Britain in 2010 and 2012, and the climb between Postbridge and Warren House Inn. Intermediate Sprints will feature at Torcross, Kingsbridge and Tavistock.
Locally based professional cyclist Freddie Scheske has ridden the route as he targets making the Ribble Weldtite Pro Cycling team for the race.
He said: “It’s definitely a tough route but it should make for great racing. I probably know the roads better than anyone in the peloton and I’ve got the route here to train on so I can practice efforts on the climbs. It will be nice to have friends and family cheering me on in my home stage – I can’t wait.”
Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member with responsibility for cycling, said: “We always pride ourselves on Devon Stages producing some great racing and over the years we’ve been treated to some memorable moments of The Tour here in our county. This year’s route promises to produce more of the same, and Slapton will be one of the most scenic Sprints of this year’s Tour. The Tour always provides a great showcase for Devon and it’s a chance for a worldwide audience to see our beautiful coast and countryside as well as our towns and the historic city of Exeter. Hopefully the arrival of The Tour will give local businesses a welcome boost.”
The race will visit the South Hams for the first time since 2012 and after setting out from Sherford, riders face a frenetic first half of the race with a ŠKODA King of the Mountains climb and two intermediate sprints in quick succession.
Councillor Jonathan Hawkins, South Hams District Council Executive Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “The South Hams is a unique and beautiful part of the world and we’re really looking forward to September. The Tour is going through the heart of the South Hams, all the way through from Totnes, Ivybridge, Kingsbridge and into Dartmouth. It’s going to be great. When The Tour finished in Dartmouth in 2012 it was very good for local B&Bs, cafes and restaurants, but as well as the economy it’s also about getting people to take up cycling or cycle more often.”
Dartmoor National Park, which is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year, includes two of the ŠKODA King of the Mountains climbs which could prove decisive in the stage.
Pamela Woods, Chair of Dartmoor National Park Authority, said: “We’re delighted to welcome The Tour, especially in our 70th anniversary year. It means a lot for us to have a worldwide audience looking at us and thinking ‘wow, that’s been a National Park with all its protections and everything that goes with that for 70 years and yet is still a place where people live and work as well as visit’. It’s going to be a challenge for the riders, a spectacle for the onlookers and is also a real boost for our local businesses.”
Exeter witnessed a thrilling and hard-earned stage victory by former Austrian national champion Matthias Brandle in 2014 and it will again provide the setting for a high speed finale – this time in Queen Street.
Councillor Amal Ghusain, Exeter City Council Lead Councillor for Communities and Culture, said: “I can’t wait for the Tour to come to Exeter. It’s a great boost for the city – for everyone who lives here, city centre businesses, shoppers and cycling enthusiasts – especially after the year that we’ve had. I’m sure the finale in Queen Street will be a thrilling end to the Devon stage and something for us all to look forward to.”
Mick Bennett, Tour of Britain race director, said: “This year’s Tour of Britain route is truly spectacular, covering a greater geographical area than we’ve ever done before while also ticking off several things we’ve wanted to do for a long time. Be it visiting Cornwall and Aberdeenshire, hosting stage finishes on the summit of Great Orme and in the shadow of the Angel of the North, reintroducing a team time trial and visiting noteworthy and historic host venues new and old, I have a feeling that this year’s race will be one for the ages – an unforgettable week and a fantastic celebration of Britain and cycling!”
Teams already announced for this year’s Tour of Britain are Ribble Weldtite Pro Cycling, Canyon dhb SunGod, SwiftCarbon Pro Cycling, Saint Piran and TRINITY Racing, as well as a Great Britain national squad.
The 2021 Tour of Britain is due to take place between Sunday 5 and Sunday 13 September 2021, starting from Penzance in Cornwall and finishing in the city of Aberdeen.