SweetSpot reveals Tour of Britain details

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SweetSpot Group, organiser of The Tour of Britain, has unveiled its plans for what it says will be the longest and toughest race yet. The Tour of Britain will feature eight stages and will start in Ipswich on September 9 and finish in Guildford on September 16.

At a major press conference yesterday, Hugh Roberts, chief executive, SweetSpot Group, announced that the sporting event would see Skoda, Yodel and IG Markets as sponsors with Specialized and Maxifuel also coming on board.

Maxifuel will be supplying product to the race and will also be carrying out sampling activity as the tour passes through 840 miles of Britain’s roads.

Skoda will also be supplying 50 vehicles to the event.

Jonathan Durling, head of sponsorship, Skoda, said: “The Tour of Britain is a great way to increase our visibility. Cycling is a great fit with Skoda, demonstrating precision and performance and this event is great for us as a brand.”

Stage two of the race is set to be one of the most memorable, as the riders leave Nottingham Castle, heading across the Peak District to a unique finish alongside the elephant and giraffe enclosures at Knowlsey Safari Park.

Roberts told Stand Out: “Council departments and event teams have been very receptive to the tour. Our model in 2004 was not to have a title sponsor but to have towns and cities as stakeholders because they could recognise and wanted to benefit from the economic impact. That model continues to work now in these economic times.”

Roberts continued: “At the moment we have capped the tour at eight stages, we could expand the race and go to nine or 10 but I think it will only ever go to nine days max. There are some plans afoot to add a festival of cycling to the event to engage audiences on a weekend but that will be next year.”

Mick Bennett, race director, The Tour of Britain, added that the organising team has plugged into the growth of social networks and cycling’s fanbase to push the event. Showing the race live online has also helped its popularity.

ITV presenter Ned Bolting confirmed that the TV channel is hoping to screen the last three stages of the race live this year, and there is a possibility that the 2013 race will be shown live in its entirety.

“We require the oxegen of television for out sponsors,” added Roberts. “If we can get ITV to show all the stages of the race in 2013 then it will be symbolic of the a race that’s reached maturity as an event, and will show the public that the event is a cornerstone of the sporting calendar.”

Roberts also revealed that The Tour of Britain Points Jersey is currently unsponsored, and that he is waiting to hear whether SweetSpot’s joint bid with the London Marathon Company to host the London Cycling Festival in 2013 is successful.

Once again amateur cyclists will have the chance to experience The Tour of Britain first hand, with five Tour Rides supporting the elite race between July and the end of September. In July cyclists can ride the route of Stage One from Ipswich to the Norfolk Showground before August sees circular Tour Rides based around Caerphilly in Wales and Dumfries in Scotland.

Two final Tour Rides follow The Tour of Britain in September, firstly the weekend after The Tour on the route of The Stoke-on-Trent Stage, starting and finishing on the Trentham Estate, while the final Ride of 2012 sees The Tour of Britain link up with the Cycle Show for The Tour Ride Cycle Show at the NEC.

A series of smaller events to promote the tour will also take place between May 15 and June 14, including an Oxford v Cambridge varsity cycle race.

The Tour of Britain stages are as follows:

  • Stage One – September 9 – Ipswich to Norfolk Showground
  • Stage Two – September 10 – Nottingham to Knowsley
  • Stage Three –September 11 – Jedburgh to Dumfries
  • Stage Four – September 12 – Carlisle to Blackpool
  • Stage Five – September 13 – The Stoke-on-Trent Stage
  • Stage Six – September 14 – Welshpool to Caerphilly
  • Stage Seven – September 15 – Barnstaple to Dartmouth
  • Stage Eight – September 16 – Reigate to Guildford