As residents will already know, Stage 2 of this race will take place on Monday September 3, starting here in Cranbrook, the UK’s newest town, covering 174km (108 miles) of stunning countryside across East Devon, Mid Devon and North Devon and finishing in Barnstaple.
Further details of the exact route were announced yesterday evening (5 June) at the 2018 OVO Energy Tour of Britain national launch in central London:
The stage will travel through three Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, skirt along the western borders of Exmoor National Park, visit the North Devon Biosphere Reserve and take in the stunning coastal road from Combe Martin to Saunton.
From the dropping of the start flag, the route offers the riders no respite. From Cranbrook, Chineway Hill in Ottery St Mary sets the scene for the first King of the Mountain (KOM) climb, just a few kilometres into the race. Racers will then pass through Honiton, Ufculme and into Mid Devon, racing down Tiverton High Street. The race will then travel into North Devon, pass (literally!) through the Pannier Market in South Molton and into Barnstaple before embarking on a 70km loop, only to return to the town for the grandstand stage finish. The loop takes in the communities of Bratton Fleming and Combe Martin, where the race first touches the North Devon coast. It then continues on the coast road to Ilfracombe, Woolacombe (where the riders will feel they may almost be riding onto the beach) Croyde, Saunton Sands, Braunton and back to Barnstaple. This North Devon section will include a sprint close to Castle Hill and the last real test for the riders – the brutal 23 per cent incline of Challacombe Hill, just 20 kilometres from the finish.
The race is being hosted by Devon County Council, supported by East Devon District Council and North Devon Council, working with Cranbrook Town Council and Barnstaple Town Council. Race Director Mick Bennett commented: “We are delighted to be returning to Devon and once again working with our partners at Devon County Council for Stage Two of the OVO Energy Tour of Britain. We know the race always receives a fantastic reception from fans in the South West and know it will be the same this September.” Cllr Tom Wright, East Devon District Council’s Portfolio Holder for Environment said: “It is very appropriate that Stage 2 will be starting in Cranbrook. Cranbrook has been selected to be part of a Healthy New Town initiative and the Tour of Britain should encourage residents to ‘get on their bikes’ to enjoy our wonderful countryside and the network of cycle routes created as part of the transport infrastructure linking the west end of our beautiful district with Exeter.” Cranbrook Town Council Chairman, Cllr Kevin Blakey said: “This is great news for Cranbrook. I am sure that everyone in the town will be delighted that, as one of Britain’s Healthy New Towns, we have been chosen as the starting point for the second stage of one of the biggest sporting events of the year. We look forward to welcoming everyone involved in the Tour, and the spectators who will be sure to give the competitors a rousing send-off.”
As well as the challenging route, fans can also look forward to once again welcoming a star-studded line-up of teams to race on home roads this September, including the likes of UCI World Tour squads BMC Racing, Team Katusha Alpecin and Team Sky. The first teams to be confirmed to have been invited to the race are: BMC Pro Cycling, Lotto Soudal, Mitchelton Scott, Movistar Team, Quick-Step Floors, Team Dimension Data, Team EF Education First – Drapac, Team Katusha Alpecin, Team Lotto NL Jumbo, Team Sky (all UCI World Tour), Aqua Blue Sport, Direct Energie, Wanty – Groupe Gobert (all UCI Pro Continental) and the Great Britain national team. The final list of participating teams for the 2018 OVO Energy Tour of Britain will be confirmed week commencing 16 July.
Watch the You Tube clip: https://youtu.be/2dp99Oy2aHw