The UK’s most prestigious cycle race will make a spectacular return to the North East this year.
It has been confirmed today that two bids to bring the world’s top cyclists back to the region in September have been successful.
The third leg of the Tour of Britain will be staged across a picturesque route through Northumberland, North Tyneside and Newcastle - including a dramatic city centre finish.
Then stage four of the race will start on the Gateshead Quayside the following day as part of a route that will also pass the world famous Angel of the North.
Hosting a double bill of the country’s premier professional cycling race is a historic coup for the region’s leaders - and will add to a stunning few days of sporting action, coming just after the Great North Run and England's rugby international against Italy at St James' Park.
North of Tyne Mayor Jamie Driscoll said: “This is great news - I’m really looking forward to the Tour of Britain coming to the North of Tyne.
“The Northumberland coastline is the perfect setting for a long distance cycle race, and as the riders make their way into Wallsend, the tension will build and we’ll be able to support the riders. And the finish in Grey Street will be really exciting.
“We’ll be working with schools, sports clubs, and local businesses to make sure everyone benefits from hosting this here, in the North of Tyne.
"There’s the boost to our tourist businesses, of course, and it’s a great opportunity to enthuse people about cycling and the health and environmental benefits it brings.”
The 114-mile North of Tyne stage, to be held on Monday September 9, will start from the centre of Berwick-upon-Tweed, crossing the Grade I listed Berwick Bridge as the race heads away along the Tweed Valley and onto Ford and Wooler.
Riders will then race down the Northumberland coast, including past Bamburgh and Warkworth castles, and through Alnwick, Morpeth, Bedlington and Cramlington.
The route then heads into North Tyneside through Whitley Bay, Tynemouth, North Shields and Wallsend.
The final kilometres will see the race heading along the banks of the Tyne on the Newcastle Quayside, before a final sprint up to the finish line on Grey Street.
The Tour of Britain previously came to Northumberland in 2015 and 2017, and was last held in Newcastle in 2009.
OVO Energy Tour of Britain race director Mick Bennett said: “In recent editions we have had two great visits to Northumberland, so it is exciting to be working with the North of Tyne Combined Authority to deliver an even bigger stage this September with what will be a thrilling finish in Newcastle city centre.
“I have fond memories of the Grey Street finish in Newcastle from the Kellogg’s Tour so know what a memorable finale it will make for a great day of racing in the North East.”
tage four, on Tuesday September 10, will start alongside the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art and Sage Gateshead, with a route that will take in the centre of Gateshead and the Angel of the North.
Sunniside, Whickham and Blaydon will also feature on the leg, which heads into County Durham via High Spen. The 106-mile stage will then cross the Pennines to Brough before finishing in the South Lakeland town of Kendal.
The race previously came to Gateshead in 2008 and 2009.
Coun Angela Douglas, Gateshead Council’s cabinet member for culture, sport and leisure, said: “We’re thrilled to welcome the return of this premier cycling event.
"Gateshead’s iconic Quays, the Angel of the North and our beautiful countryside will provide the riders and spectators a spectacular backdrop to this stage of this race.
“Events of a national scale like the Tour of Britain help inspire spectators of all ages as well as providing a welcome boost to the local economy.”
ITV4 will again screen live coverage of each stage and a nightly highlights programme.
The 2019 OVO Energy Tour of Britain begins in Glasgow on Saturday September 7, finishing eight days later in Manchester.