Sunderland is gearing up to welcome Britain’s leading cycling event, the AJ Bell Tour of Britain, which arrives in the city for the first time two weeks tomorrow.

Over 100 of the world’s best riders will tackle the 163.6-kilometre (101.7m) stage that begins in Durham and culminates outside City Hall in Sunderland City Centre at approximately 3pm on Tuesday 6 September.

The free to attend sporting spectacular is expected to attract large crowds, with Keel Square hosting the Tour Village from 11am on race day.

Councillor Graeme Miller, Leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “We’re tremendously excited to be welcoming the UK’s most most prestigious cycle race to our city for the first time, two weeks from now.

“The AJ Bell Tour of Britain is a hugely popular event. Hosting it presents the perfect opportunity to showcase our fabulous city. The sheer spectacle of over 100 of the world’s best riders racing through our city will truly be a sight to behold. It promises to be a brilliant day out for residents and visitors alike and one which we hope people will flock to see. 

It’s been a fantastic few months for major sporting events in our city with the Tour Series in May, the British Triathlon Super Series Grand Final this last weekend and the Tour to look forward to on Tuesday 6 September.”

Cycling is a well-established and popular activity in Sunderland and among the cyclists very much looking forward to welcoming the race to the city is 80-year-old Eddie McGourley from Penshaw.

Tour of Britain Sunderland

Eddie was just 28 when he won the coveted King of the Mountain jersey in the Milk Race, a semi-professional forerunner to the Tour of Britain, in Brighton 52 years ago in 1970. He said he was ‘well pleased’  when he took the jersey but that it was a very different race then.

He said: “The 1970 race was completely different to now. It was longer at 14 days and 16 stages compared to 10 days now. At the time it was supposed to be the longest amateur stage race in the world. Also, I had a job as an electrical engineer whereas most of the riders now are professional cyclists. I used to have to go cap in hand asking for time off so that was a big difference.

“I raced abroad for GB quite a few times but again it was a case of asking work for time off. Now it’s a full-time job. There were professionals then. I had two or three offers to turn professional and was tempted, the only thing that put me off was the money.”

A member of Houghton Cycling Club for the last 70 years, Eddie is now its president and still likes to get out and about on his bike.

He said:I try to keep myself reasonably fit by getting out on my bike. I think it’s great that the Tour of Britain is coming to Sunderland. I’m all for pushing cycling, and the Tour does inspire people to get out on bikes.”

Councillor Linda Williams, Sunderland City Council’s Cabinet Member for Vibrant City, said: “We have some fantastic cycling clubs and community cycling groups in Sunderland, not to mention inspirational cyclists like Eddie who is still getting out and about on his bike.

“I hope that his story, together with seeing the elite riders of today in action, will inspire more people across our city to take to their bikes as part of our exciting programme of swim bike run activities in the coming years.

“This is all about encouraging more people to be active and take advantage of our wonderful city, green spaces and fantastic coastline, not to mention all the physical and mental health benefits that being active brings with it.”

Peter Hodges, AJ Bell Tour of Britain PR and marketing director, said: We are really excited to be bringing the AJ Bell Tour of Britain to Sunderland for the first time and building on the success of our Tour Series events in the city.  Hopefully the crowds turn out in force to support this free-to-attend event, and that many are inspired by seeing the race in Sunderland to get on their bikes more often and enjoy all that cycling has to offer.”

Information for fans

Full stage details are available online at

Stage three will be shown live and in full on ITV4 from 11am on race day, with highlights following that evening at 10pm.

While fans can watch all the action by the roadside for free, race day hospitality packages offering guaranteed prime views of stage starts and finishes, as well as unforgettable experiences featuring Tour de France stage winner Dan Martin are now available. Visit and for more information.

Tour of Britain hospitality