The OVO Energy Tour of Britain is British Cycling's premier road cycling event and the country's largest annual, free-to-spectate sporting event.
With a history traceable back to the 1950s, the Tour of Britain has existed in various guises over the years, with the modern edition being revived in 2004 by British Cycling and current organisers SweetSpot Group, after a five-year absence from the global cycling calendar, the OVO Energy Tour of Britain is now a cornerstone of the sporting year and this country's biggest cycle race.
After a five-year absence from the calendar, the race was re-launched in 2004 by SweetSpot Group, initially over five-days before increasing to six stages in 2005 and eight days in 2008.
In 2014 the race was elevated to 2.HC status, putting it firmly on the highest rung of stage races outside of the Grand Tours of France, Italy and Spain, and the highest ranked stage race in the UK.
The race attracts the world’s top riders to race on British roads each September, from top sprinters like Mark Cavendish, Andre Greipel and Marcel Kittel, to time trialists like Tony Martin and Tom Dumoulin and climbers like Nairo Quintana and Dan Martin.
Among the list of former winners of the race are the likes of British stars Sir Bradley Wiggins (2013) and Steve Cummings (2016) while many current British stars, such as Simon Yates and Geraint Thomas made their first impressions on the world-stage in the race.
The 2017 tour
In 2017 the race began in Edinburgh for the first time, with Sunday 3 September seeing the opening stage head from the Scottish capital’s Royal Mile to Kelso in the Scottish Borders, and featuring a spectator friendly loop through the finish.
The second stage, on Monday 4 September, took place in Northumberland, heading from Kielder Water and Forest Park to Blyth, which last hosted a stage finish two years ago, won by Fernando Gaviria.
North Lincolnshire hosted a whole stage for the first time, marking the return of the race to the area for the first time since 2009. Stage Three on Tuesday 5 September began in the 300-acre country estate of Normanby Hall and finished in Scunthorpe.
A day later Nottinghamshire also hosted an entire stage for the first time, with Mansfield and Newark-on-Trent welcoming the OVO Energy Tour of Britain for the first time on Wednesday 6 September.
Thursday 7 September saw a mid-race individual time trial over a distance of 10-miles/16-kilometres, in and around Clacton-on-Sea in the Tendring district of Essex.
A familiar stop on the Tour in recent years, Suffolk hosted a full stage for the first time, with the start on Friday 8 September in the famous horse racing town of Newmarket and the finish on the Suffolk Coast in Aldeburgh.
The penultimate stage of the race crossed the Cotswolds, from Hemel Hempstead to a new finish in the centre of Cheltenham on Saturday 9 September.
The final stage on Sunday 10 September took the OVO Energy Tour of Britain from Worcester city centre through Worcestershire and Herefordshire to finish in Cardiff for the first time ever, culminating with three laps of a city centre circuit.
For more information about the OVO Energy Tour of Britain, please visit www.tourofbritain.co.uk