Full reaction to the unveiling of the 2021 Tour of Britain stage start and finish locations on Wednesday morning.

We now know that this year’s race will take the world’s best riders from Cornwall to Aberdeen via two stages in Wales – a first for the modern Tour of Britain – as well as northern England and Edinburgh!

Route reaction

Hugh Roberts, chief executive of race organisers SweetSpot said: We are excited to reveal more details of this year’s Tour of Britain and what is truly an epic route – one that will take us from the furthest tip of south west England, through Wales, and eventually finishing at one of the furthest points of north east Scotland.

“We want to make September not just about the world-class racing and superstar riders but also through our campaign, Ride for Heroes, to ensure it is a celebration of ‘all things British’ and make it an occasion for ourselves and British Cycling to thank all those who have worked tirelessly over the past year to ensure our wellbeing and safety.  The SweetSpot team are determined that not only will there be great racing to enjoy but the Tour of Britain will also be way by which communities across the country can come together and show their appreciation for our COVID heroes over the past 12 months.”

Jonathan Day, British Cycling’s head of sport and major events, said: “Though the Tour of Britain as we know and love it today has evolved since its reincarnation in 2004, the foundations of the race have remained true – challenging and exciting routes, a peloton brimming with the world’s best teams and riders, and brilliant crowds. “We pride ourselves on the Tour of Britain being the biggest and most prestigious cycle race in the UK. As we look ahead to its return after postponement in 2020 we’re sure that the riders on show – who will be going shoulder to shoulder from Cornwall to Aberdeen over eight days – will make this latest edition one of the most spectacular yet.”

Stage six: Cumbria to Gateshead

Councillor Deborah Earl, Cumbria County Council Cabinet member for Public Health, said: “We’re thrilled that the Tour of Britain is scheduled to return to Cumbria in September following the postponement of the 2020 race as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Tour of Britain is a fantastic sports event that inspires more people to get out on their own bikes, which is great for everyone’s health and wellbeing. We fully support the race organisers’ efforts to work with stakeholders to monitor the public health situation and to meet any requirements in place for outdoor sports events in September to ensure that the Tour of Britain can take place safely.”

Councillor Angela Douglas, Gateshead Council’s Cabinet member for Culture, Sport and Leisure, said: Gateshead has a strong reputation for hosting major international sporting events and we are thrilled to welcome the return of this premier cycling event.  It was fantastic to see thousands of residents and schoolchildren line the streets to show their support in 2019.

“Gateshead’s iconic Angel of the North and our beautiful countryside will once again provide the riders and spectators with a spectacular backdrop to this stage of the race. Events of a national scale like the Tour of Britain help inspire spectators of all ages as well as providing a welcome boost to the local economy. It is also a fitting way to celebrate a great sporting weekend as it coincides with the start of the weekend celebration of the Great North Run.”

Stage seven: Hawick to Edinburgh

Councillor Mark Rowley, Scottish Borders Council’s Executive Member for Economic Regeneration and Finance, said: “The Scottish Borders is Scotland’s leading cycling destination, with some of the world’s finest mountain biking tracks and a network of fantastic on-road cycling routes. I am therefore delighted that we’ve been able to work with the Tour of Britain team to bring the race back to the region again to showcase just what we have to offer.

“This will be our eighth time hosting a Tour of Britain start or finish in the past 12 years, and we know from previous experience not only what an incredible event it is but also the positive economic impact it has on both the host town and wider area. As we look towards the region’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is essential that we continue to do all we can to attract visitors to the area and the Council’s commitment and investment towards bringing the highest quality events to the Borders and supporting local events is unwavering.

“We will be working closely with the Tour of Britain organisers and other partners over the coming months to prepare for the event, of course ensuring all measures are in place to keep spectators safe.”

Craig Burn, Scottish Cycling chief executive, said: “At Scottish Cycling we are thrilled to be welcoming the Tour of Britain to Edinburgh and Hawick. Major events are a brilliant way of inspiring more people to ride bikes in Scotland, therefore securing and staging elite racing is fundamental to achieving our ambition of developing a nation of cyclists. They are also a great way of inspiring the next generation of young riders, bringing together cycling clubs, schools and communities together to watch the best cyclists in the world race on Scottish roads.”

Stage eight: Stonehaven to Aberdeen

Andy Kille, leader of Aberdeenshire Council said: “I feel sure that the delay placed upon this event by the global pandemic will only have further whetted the appetite of the competitors to take on the Aberdeenshire stage. It is well acknowledged that this is a go-to destination for cycling with our scenery and spectacular landscapes. Not to mention some of the more challenging climbs which are being considered as options in our stage – these would make the Aberdeenshire leg unforgettable.

“Everyone is looking forward to welcoming the Tour, the cyclists, the spectators and the global audiences to this corner of Scotland. That takes nothing away from the concerns many will have regarding an influx of visitors to any part of the country, and that includes Aberdeenshire. I am assured that work is already well progressed around how this event can be delivered safely, and updates will follow about any measures which need to be put in place to keep spectators and our communities safe.”

Councillor Marie Boulton, Aberdeen City Council cultural lead, said: “We welcome today’s announcement confirming the 16 venues that will host the Tour of Britain, with Aberdeen to play host to the final stage of the prestigious international event.

“This is a fantastic example of our ambition for the city, in which cultural activity and our Events 365 programme are playing a major part. It’s clear that, as well as being a massive attraction in its own right, the Tour of Britain will help support the city’s longer term economic plans. The domestic Tour Series, a round of which we staged in the city so successfully in recent years, showcases the potential positive impacts on a regional level for tourism, health and wellbeing.”