The UK’s largest professional cycling race is less than a month away and the route for the opening stage in Liverpool has been unveiled.
The Friends Life Tour of Britain ‘Grand Depart’ takes place on Sunday 7 September, with the start and finish of the race taking place in front of the world-famous backdrop of the Three Graces.
The Sunday will also see thousands of residents and visitors take part in the free Sky Ride Liverpool Big Bike event which gives families the chance to get on their bikes and experience part of the prestigious route before the main race takes place.
The schedule and routes for the day are:
Sky Ride, 9am-12.30pm
Sefton Park (Croxteth Gate), Sefton Park Road, Croxteth Road, Princes Road, Upper Parliament Street, Parliament Street, Chaloner Street, Wapping
Friends Life Tour of Britain, 2.15pm-4.45pm
George’s Dock Gates, The Strand/Goree, Strand Street, Wapping, Chaloner Street, Parliament Street, Upper Parliament Street, Princes Road, Princes Avenue, Croxteth Road, Sefton Park Road, Croxteth Drive, Mossley Hill Drive, Aigburth Drive – the route then doubles back on itself and after eight laps of the 13 kilometre circuit, will finish on The Strand.
Stage One will get underway at 2.15pm, featuring intermediate YodelDirect Sprints at the finish line on laps two, four and six of the eight lap race. Riders will also contest a SKODA King of the Mountains prime on Parliament Street on laps three, five and seven, with the stage finished expected at around 4.45pm.
Friends Life Tour of Britain Race Director Mick Bennett said: “The route for the opening stage is going to be spectacular and iconic, whether people are watching at the roadside or at home on the live television coverage.
“With a Sky Ride beforehand and then some of the world’s best cyclists racing across eight laps afterwards, Stage One will be a great, free day out for spectators in Liverpool.
“With a fast finish along the Strand in front of the Three Graces, the stage is tailor made for the sprinters, with the stage winner set to pull on the first Friends Life Yellow Jersey of the 2014 race.”
This is the first time the city has had the honour of hosting this opening stage, although it has been involved with the event before by holding stage finishes in 2006 and 2008, and a stage start in 2007.
Liverpool’s Assistant Mayor and Cabinet Member responsible for sport, Councillor Wendy Simon, said: “We’re delighted to be hosting the opening stage of this prestigious race and excitement will really start to build now the route has been revealed.
“It will take in many of the beautiful sights of the city – the fantastic green space that is Sefton Park and the stunning waterfront will be amazing for these elite cyclists to take in as they’re racing around our city.
“The Sky Ride event earlier in the day is a great opportunity for people of all ages and abilities to ride around traffic-free streets and literally ride part of the route of this famous event before the professionals get a chance!
“It’s a great message to encourage families to get out and be active, and hopefully it will inspire more cyclists and could result in some home grown cycling stars!”
The 2014 Friends Life Tour of Britain will take place across 8 days – from 7 to the 14 September. Full details of all of the stages, including the Stage Two Start on Monday 8 September at Knowsley, can be found via www.tourofbritain.co.uk/stages
Sky Ride is a national campaign between Sky and British Cycling, encouraging thousands of people of all ages and abilities to get on a bike and discover the fun, freedom and health benefits cycling can offer. Much loved TV presenter and Sky 1’s Got to Dance host Davina McCall, is set to take part in Liverpool’s first ever Sky Ride Big Bike Event , organised in partnership with Liverpool City Council. A passionate cyclist, Davina will join thousands of cyclists for a great day of traffic-free cycling.
Peter Haymes, British Cycling’s Recreation Manager for Liverpool, said: “We are delighted to be bringing our first fantastic Sky Ride Big Bike Event to Liverpool this year, especially linking it into the Tour of Britain Grand Depart on the same day.
“Cycling in the UK has transformed in the last few years with a million more Brits now cycling regularly as a result of Sky’s partnership with British Cycling. We will be giving cyclists in Liverpool the chance to ride a fun, friendly and traffic-free route through the city and then have the chance to watch big-name professional cyclists race on the same circuit later in the day.
“We want to inspire people to get out on their bikes. It has already been an awesome summer of cycling in the UK with the much heralded Tour de France and Commonwealth Games, so we hope to wrap it up in style with a huge celebration of all things two-wheeled in Liverpool on 7 September, I hope as many people as possible can join us!”
As a result of an event of this size, there will be a series of road closures in place on Sunday 7 September:
5am – 8pm
Main routes including: King Edward Street, New Quay, Georges Dock Gates, The Strand/Goree, Strand Street, Wapping, Chaloner Street, Parliament Street, Upper Parliament Street, Princes Road/Princes Avenue, Croxteth Road, Sefton Park Road, Aigburth Drive (anticlockwise), Croxteth Drive (anticlockwise), Mossley Hill, Drive (anticlockwise).
The dock exit of Queensway Mersey Tunnel, including Mann Island, Brunswick Street, Water Street and Canada Boulevard in the Pier Head area, will also be closed during these times.
12noon – 8pm
In addition to the above roads, Aigburth Drive, (both directions),Croxteth Drive (both directions) and Mossley Hill Drive (both directions) at Sefton Park will be closed.
Many roads will begin to re-open once the event has finished – approximately around 6pm, although some roads will remain closed until 8pm.
Pedestrian access will be maintained throughout the event area.