Tour of Britain Preview

Tomorrow sees the Tour of Britain set off from Glasgow to Port Douglas on the first of eight stages that cross Scotland, the Lake District, Cheshire, Wales, South West England and a finale on the streets of the Capital on 11th September. No less than eight medalists from Rio’s Olympics are taking part, 21 teams, 11 of which are UCI outfits: this is now a highly rated, prestigious and important race in its own right that attracts some of the best cyclists in the world.

It’s come a long way from its humble origins when, in 1945, a group of disgruntled cyclists who’d been banned by the National Cyclists Union set up the Victory Cycling Marathon to celebrate the end of the war. A stage race from Brighton to Glasgow, it was, by all accounts, a disorganised shambles with riders sleeping in barns and sheds in between stages. That first race was very much a French affair: 6 of the top ten finishers were Frenchmen as was its winner, Robert Batot. But it was also hugely popular with as many as 20,000 spectators watching the race set off.

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