Teams for the prestigious OVO Energy Tour of Britain cycle race have been announced today (Friday 19 July), as the North of Tyne prepares to host the third stage of the race on Monday 9 September.
Stage Three will see the world’s top riders and teams contesting a 114-mile route from Berwick through Northumberland, heading along the North Tyneside coast and into Wallsend, before continuing to Newcastle city centre, with a spectacular finish on Grey Street.
It will be the first ever Tour of Britain stage to link all of the areas of the North of Tyne Combined Authority, with the route taking in Northumberland, North Tyneside and Newcastle Upon Tyne.
Riders announced include Team INEOS (formerly Sky), Team Jumbo-Visma and Movistar Team, all of which were involved in The Tour of Britain when it last raced through Northumberland in 2017. Team INEOS famously won the 2012 Tour de France with Bradley Wiggins, and again in 2013 with Chris Froome. Belgian cyclist Wout van Aert of Jumbo-Visma recently won Stage Ten in the Tour de France, which is currently underway.
Tweedmouth Middle School and cycle club The Berwick Wheelers joined Northumberland County Council Leader Peter Jackson and Cllr Cath Homer, cabinet member for culture, arts, leisure and tourism with the official OVO Energy Tour of Britain mascot, ToBI, and race car at the Stage Three start in Berwick.
Cllr Jackson said: “We’re incredibly proud to be part-hosting the third stage and what better way to welcome the riders into England than in our border town of Berwick.
“Following the success of previous Northumberland stages that witnessed huge crowds throughout the county, we can’t wait to see thousands of residents and schoolchildren lining the streets to watch this year's race.”
In Whitley Bay, North Tyneside pupils from Wellfield Middle School greeted mascot ToBI onto school grounds as they gear up for the Coast to Coast challenge from 20-23 September. Twelve Year 8 pupils are in training to take part in the 140 mile challenge from Whitehaven to Tynemouth over four days.
ToBI and official organisers then visited Spanish City in Whitley Bay to pose for some photos and grab an ice cream on the beach.
Elected Mayor of North Tyneside, Norma Redfearn, said: “Excitement is mounting as this prestigious race draws closer. This is a wonderful opportunity to support our own efforts to get more families involved in cycling, and I look forward to welcoming all the riders and spectators to our fantastic borough when the race passes through.”
The final miles will see the race heading alongside the banks of the River Tyne on the Quayside, before the final turn on to Dean Street and Grey Street for a spectacular city centre finish.
North of Tyne Mayor Jamie Driscoll and Newcastle City Council’s Cllr Arlene Ainsley, cabinet member for transport and air quality, met with Tour of Britain organisers Sweetspot outside the Theatre Royal on Grey Street to discuss the Stage Three finish.
Cllr Ainsley said: “It is a pleasure for us to host the finish of the third stage of Tour of Britain in Newcastle city centre, closing what will be a wonderful weekend of sport in the city including the Great North Run and Rugby World Cup warm-up between England and Italy.
“We love cycling events in this city, it’s a sport that has a huge following and I can’t wait to see the impact this spectacular event will have as we continue to encourage more and more people onto their bikes.”
North of Tyne Mayor Jamie Driscoll added: “The Tour of Britain is a really exciting sporting event. You’ve got elite cyclists coming from Berwick, along the Northumberland coast, through North Tyneside and then along the Newcastle Quayside, with an uphill sprint finish along Grey Street to the Theatre Royal, all in a single day.
“I’m a keen cyclist, but that’s a test of endurance that’s worthy of admiration.
“Our challenge is to get the message across that you don’t have to be super fit to take up cycling. As a means of transport and just staying healthy it’s a great way to tackle the climate emergency we’re facing. And the lycra is strictly optional.”
Stage Three will feature three SKODA King of the Mountains climbs at Ford Common, Belford Moor and outside Longhoughton.
Three intermediate Eisberg Sprints will also feature on the route at Seahouses, Warkworth and Seaton Delaval.
For further information, please see the North of Tyne Tour of Britain website - www.northoftyne-tob.co.uk