Tour of Britain

August 30, 2006

this year’s tour of britain got underway yesterday, and just as happened last year a breakaway succeeded and the stage winner now has over 2 minutes over his rivals and could possible now have won the tour on the first day.

this is a problem with the tour of britain that the organisers need to address. with no time trials and a very flat course this year the race looks like being one long yawn in the style of a late summer chain-gang.

the organisers really needed to have put some challenging long climbs into the race near the end of stages to really break up the field. however, any climbs that are there seem to be of the steep, short variety that no one is going to lose time on; and even if you do get shelled out the back, due to where the climbs are you can get back into the field before the finish.

what i don’t understand is why such great cycling country as the scottish mountains, wales and the peak district were ignored by the officials in favour of flat (and dull) stages as we have seen this year. i realise that the organisers are limited to the length of the tour at the moment (until the UCI promote the race to protour standard) and often have their hands tied as to where the race goes due to officialdom and police “reservations” but that is no reason to make the race so easy and dull.

everyone knows that races are decided in the mountains, that is why they get the biggest crowds. the real strongmen can distance their rivals and often put in a race-winning surge once the gradient steepens. but on the flat, with a couple of exceptions, the race is pretty much up for grabs. this makes for dull racing.

if british cycling want to promote the sport to a larger audience in this country then they really need to start by making the premier uk race more interesting by introducing more “real” climbs and better finishing venues – finishing in big cities, while it may be what the sponsors want (big crowds, etc), will never generate the results and spectacle of a mountain-top finale.

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One Response to “Tour of Britain”

  1. Jason Graves said

    I too was quite disapointed by the choice of climbs for the 2006 TOB. Last year I enjoyed watching the pros on the stage that went up Snake Pass, as it is a climb that I do myself quite often (slowly though).

    There was a real lack of what you would call ‘classic’ climbs. I watched stage 3 where the route crossed ‘the Strines’, but even then it was from the easier direction , and they descended the 20% Thorpe’s brow hill , and back up to Broomhead which was rated as Cat 1 (!).
    After the race had gone through , i did the same Cat 1 , which was short and steepish , but not really much of a problem. (would like to know what category Winnats Pass is)

    They should send the b*ggers up Winnats Pass, I did the climb on the following day , and it was a real killer with a viscious gusty headwind upsetting my very slow but steady rhythm.

    Not so sure whether there will be a TOB in 2007 after all the cock-ups there was this year.

    p.s. Well done for this webpage !

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