WARWICKSHIRE will welcome Britain’s biggest professional cycle race for the second successive year when the Ovo Energy Tour of Britain returns to the county.
Stage Seven of the race will see the world’s top teams and riders race from Warwick town centre to a hill-top finish at Burton Dassett Country Park over a 186.5km route on Friday, 13th September.
Three short, sharp climbs at the race finish are likely to prove pivotal for the final destination of the race leader’s Ovo Energy Green Jersey – with the stage coming a day before the race’s overall finish in Manchester city centre.
More than 100,000 spectators spilled out onto streets across the county last year to watch the peloton pass through the country in Warwickshire’s debut as stage host.
Warwickshire County Council will once again manage the race, with support from Warwick District Council, Stratford-on-Avon District Council, Rugby Borough Council and North Warwickshire Borough Council.
Cllr Izzi Seccombe, leader of Warwickshire County Council, said: “The region has experienced a rise in its cycling reputation over the last few years, and we are thrilled to announce that the Ovo Energy Tour of Britain will be returning to Warwickshire this year.
“We are hoping for our biggest attendance yet after thousands flocked to watch the race pass through the county last year.
“We’d like to thank all of our partners for helping to bring back the event which gives the local economy a real boost with the surge in visitors to the county.”
Upon leaving Warwick the world’s top riders will pass through the University of Warwick, Kenilworth, Meriden (home to the National Cyclists’ Memorial), Atherstone, Bedworth and Wellesbourne.
Riders will climb Sun Rising Hill near Edge Hill before beginning the first of two full loops of a clockwise 12km finishing circuit around Burton Dassett and Farnborough, giving fans three chances to see the action on the 1.7km, 4.9 per cent average climb.
Last year’s Warwickshire stage went from Atherstone to Royal Leamington Spa, ending in victory for Andre Greipel in a bunch sprint in the town centre.
The route took the race over the Burton Dassett climb during the stage, with Briton Matt Holmes of the Madison Genesis team the first rider to crest the summit.
Mick Bennett, Ovo Energy Tour of Britain race director, said: “This year will be another special year for Warwickshire with today’s announcement of the Ovo Energy Tour of Britain returning, adding to that of June’s Ovo Energy Women’s Tour stage.
“The support we receive from the public in Warwickshire is incredible so it is great that we can deliver them two days of world class cycling this summer.
“We are sure that the triple of ascent of Burton Dassett will be one of the highlights of the Ovo Energy Tour of Britain in September.”
Stage Seven, which replicates much of Stage Four of June’s Ovo Energy Women’s Tour, will feature three Eisberg Sprints at Berkswell, Brinlow and Pillerton Priors, and five SKODA King of the Mountains climbs.
The first of these climbs comes at Friz Hill outside Wellesbourne before the climb of Sun Rising Hill onto the Edge Hill embankment, with the final climb of Burton Dassett Country Park being tackled three times by the peloton.
ITV4 will once again screen live free-to-air coverage of the stage, along with a nightly highlights programme of the best of the day’s action.
For more information visit www.tourofbritain.co.uk.