The final stage (Stage 8) of the 2017 OVO Energy Tour of Britain will finish in the Welsh capital of Cardiff.
This is excellent news for Welsh cycling fans, as it will not only highlight the untold beauty to be found in South Wales, but also provide some challenging terrain for the pros.
And therefore entertainment for us.
On top of this, the Tour’s route will pass by my home town of Newport.
And this all coincides with Visit’ Wales Year of Legends.
Tour of Britain 2017 Background
The Tour of Britain’s start in Edinburgh on September 3rd marks the beginning of one of the most anticipated events in the cycling calendar.
Eight gruelling days of racing will draw to a close on the streets of Cardiff on September 10th, 2017.
Interestingly, this will be the first year that the Tour (in its current iteration) has neither began or finished in England.
Making this a huge opportunity for Welsh and Scottish Cycling.
Cardiff Tour of Britain Stage 8 Route
Stage 8 of the Tour sees some of the world’s best cyclists riding 180km from Worcester to Cardiff.
It begins between Worcester Town Centre and the River Severn, loops around Pershore, and over the Malverns.
The pros will then pass Hereford and head south through Monmouthshire, before passing through Newport, and into Cardiff.
The Route in Cardiff
The cycling elite will enter Cardiff from Peterstone.
Following the River Severn into Cardiff Bay, and proceed to loop between Cardiff Castle and the Wales Millennium Centre.
The race then finishes on King Edward the VII Avenue, alongside Cardiff City Hall.
Tour of Britain in Newport 2017
The fact that the Tour of Britain is gracing the roads of Newport is beyond exciting to me.
It’s where I first began to explore my passion for cycling, and where most of my treasured KOMs are based.
Not that I’ll be keeping those for long, now the pros are hitting the streets.
The Tour enters Newport through the quaint town of Caerleon, then down past Beechwood Park, and onto George Street Bridge.
It then meanders around the River Usk, through Duffryn and St Brides, and into Cardiff.
If you’re local, I would advise checking which roads are closed to avoid any grievances on the day.
However the Stage takes place on a Sunday, so traffic levels should be naturally lower.
SKODA King of the Mountains Climb
If you’re not familiar with the KOM Climb, here’s a quick rundown.
Tour participants battle to earn points on designated hill climbs throughout each stage.
The rider who accumulates the highest amount of points wears the coveted SKODA King of the Mountains Jersey.
Where will it be for the Cardiff Route?
It gives me great pleasure to reveal that the Tour of Britain King of the Mountains Climb 2017 will be hosted in Newport.
As someone who grew up in the ever-growing City, I’m already aware of what the challenging and beautiful landscape can offer cycling.
And it’s a blessing to see it become a part of the Tour’s legacy.
But that’s enough reflection…
The SKODA King of the Mountain Climb takes place on the notorious inclines of Belmont Hill.
This hill is one of those hidden gems that many of you may be unaware of.
Tucked away between Caerleon and Newport City, Belmont provides everything a hill climber could desire.
And it has no consistent gradient.
Those may seem like bad things, but it’s never failed to give me the challenge I asked for.
And it’s certainly had it’s fair share of victories over me.
What will the Tour of Britain bring to Cardiff?
This is the fourth time the Tour of Britain has finished outside of London since the 2004 revival. And only the first time Cardiff has hosted a stage of the race.
It’s a great opportunity for Cardiff to show support for the sport.
The Welsh Economy Secretary Ken States said:
“It is a real coup and another excellent opportunity for us to showcase Wales’ unique and beautiful landscape to the world.
He also ensured that people would be “out in their droves to support the race”.
In celebration of Cardiff being chosen to host the final stage, Lord Mayor Monica Walsh said:
“As the capital city of Wales we have set out our aspiration of becoming one of the top cycling cities in the UK.
Here she not only illustrates Cardiff’s ambition support cycling infrastructure, but also highlights the kind of opportunities the Tour of Britain creates.
Those opportunities always generate a boom in the local tourism and economy.
Economy and Tourism Benefits from the Tour of Britain in Cardiff
There’s no way we can know how Cardiff will concretely benefit from the Tour of Britain. But we can see how similarly sized cities, like Bristol, have profited from stages in the past.
Bristol hosted Stage 7 of the 2016 Tour of Britain, and saw an benefit of £3 million generated from the race. £500,000 of this was taken by shops and hotels over the event period.
Chief executive of Destination Bristol John Hirst said:
“The Tour of Britain coming to Bristol last September was a great event that brought thousands of people out to support the riders and had a positive economic impact for the city.
So as a city of similar size and population, Cardiff could expect to do as well, if not better.
Cardiff Cycling Legacy
The Tour of Britain, and other events of that calibre, have a strange effect on the population.
Every year, hundreds of people begin riding as a result of the cycling season. It may seem obvious, but it’s true. It’s what got me started.
So Cardiff will see a natural increase in cycling numbers which will lead to future positive change for cycling in Cardiff.
This supported by a Mayor who has aspirations for the city to be one of the best in the UK for cycling.
The future has never looked so bright for cycling in South Wales!
If you want to learn more about cycling in Newport, head over to our Newport Cycling Hub for articles on local routes, shops, and clubs.