Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport

Tour of Britain race sets off from Glasgow's George Square

Line up of cyclists includes eight medallists from the Rio Olympics

By Ben Philip, Press Association Scotland

Olympic silver medallist Mark Cavendish says it will be "particularly special" to ride in front of a home crowd as the Tour of Britain commences this weekend.

Cavendish, who won a track cycling silver medal at the Rio Olympics in the omnium, is Britain's record Tour de France stage winner and will ride in Team Dimension Data as Britain's biggest professional cycle race starts in Glasgow's George Square on Sunday.

The first-leg of the seven-day race will see riders compete in the opening 161.1 kilometre (100 mile) route to Castle Douglas, with the full 1,281.6km (797 mile) race concluding in London on September 11.

The race will form part of Cavendish's preparations for the World Road Race Championships in Qatar in October.

Hundreds of cycling fans braved the rain on Saturday evening to watch a presentation in Glasgow's George Square of the 21 teams competing in the race.

Speaking at the event, Cavendish said he was "finally happy" getting an Olympic medal which had proved so elusive.

He said: "I'm just looking at the next phase now. I want to win the world road championships as well - no one has ever won a track and road world championship in the same year, so I'd like to try be a first for that and it starts here with the Tour of Britain.

"For me the tour of Britain is about coming and riding at home.

"It's not often we get to ride on home soil. Obviously I won the nationals here in Glasgow a few years ago and that was incredible how many people were out there, and I know that the same people will be out there again tomorrow.

"It's always great racing up here in Scotland especially in Glasgow seeing the people riding their bikes. The start is nice and to race all throughout Britain we don't get to do it all that often so to come here and ride in front of a home crowd is particularly special."

Sir Bradley Wiggins was also at the team presentation as part of Team Wiggins with the race being his last on home roads.

The 36-year-old added an eighth Olympic medal and fifth gold as part of the team pursuit squad in Rio last month and will end his professional career at the Ghent Six in November.

Paul Bush, VisitScotland's director of events, said: "We are delighted to support stage one of the Tour of Britain through EventScotland's international funding programme and look forward to seeing some of the biggest names in world cycling gather in Glasgow for the first day of racing.

"George Square will come alive with activity on Sunday in celebration of this magnificent occasion and, with thousands expected to attend, these festivities will demonstrate why Scotland is known the world over as the perfect stage for events."

Stage one of the 2016 Tour of Britain will begin at at 11:30am on Sunday and will feature a racing lap of Glasgow before heading towards Castle Douglas.


Belfast Telegraph Digital


From Belfast Telegraph