OMG! I’m so excited.
The OVO Energy Tour of Britain Cycle Race is returning to Northumberland, (we oldies remember it as ‘The Milk Race’).
On Monday the 9th of September the 3rd stage of the race will leave Berwick-Upon-Tweed for the first time in modern race history, and travel basically south, following the coast for much of the way, finishing the stage in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne.
This is absolutely fantastic news, but presents something of a dilemma. Where to watch the race from?
The start at Berwick would give the opportunity to experience all the razzmatazz of a stage start. There would be a chance to see all the riders as they sign on for the day’s racing, and then line up ready for the off.
As the closely packed peloton follows the commissaire’s car through the Neutral Zone towards Kilometre Zero, would be a great opportunity to spot favourite riders as they roll along at a sedate pace.
The riders will cross the Grade 1 Listed, Berwick Bridge and if one is fortunate enough to secure a good spot, is certain to produce excellent photo opportunities.
The race will then head along the Tweed Valley to Ford and Wooler, and then along the Northumberland Coast.
As the race passes Bamburgh and Warkworth Castles the views for spectators, if not the riders who will have other things on their minds than sightseeing, will be superb and both are on my list as potential viewing places to watch the race.
The riders will continue their 182.2km day in the saddle down the beautiful Northumberland Coast, eventually arriving in Newcastle.
After a steep climb there will be ‘King of the Mountain’ points at Ford Common, again at Lytham Moor which is the highest point of this stage. The last chance today for Mountain Points will come at Longhoughton. Any of these places will be excellent to watch the KoM contenders’ race for Mountain Points. Being uphill the riders will be going slower, so all the better to see them and cheer them on.
Alternatively, the ‘Sprints’ at Seahouses, Warkworth, and Seaton Delaval will be great spots to watch the action as the leaders battle for success in the ‘Points Competition’. Or maybe those riders interested in the ‘General Classification’ for overall winner, will be looking for extra time points. Or it may be that a breakaway will still be ahead of the field and these riders will sweep up all the points. That’s the thrill of cycle road racing, there are so many possibilities and so much for the riders to think about, and of course for the spectators to watch.
So, the decision is do I want to see the riders as they are all together at the start, as they toil relatively slowly uphill, sprint for points, or pass at incredible speeds on the flat or downhill, and according to the route guide some of the downhills look truly spectacular.
Each area has its own magic and it will not be an easy decision to make, but a very nice choice to have with so much variety on offer.
Obviously, there is still plenty of time to plan my vantage point, or could I squeeze in two points to watch the race from? I think I may need to recce my ‘shortlist’, which is actually a ‘longlist’, but hey, it’s a great excuse to re-visit my favourite places in Northumberland. Even better I may travel the full route and plan my viewing accordingly. Unfortunately, that journey would be by car not bike, but what a great day it would be.
Written by The Retirement Ramblers