Building on the success of last year’s race, which saw the overall lead change hands five times in eight days, the battle for victory in the 2022 edition (Sunday 4 – Sunday 11 September) looks set to go down to the final pedal strokes once again.
Aberdeen will become the third Scottish city to host the start of the race when the Tour of Britain’s most northerly Grand Départ to date takes place there on Sunday 4 September. Not only will this stage feature an entirely new route compared to last year’s finale in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, it will also include the first-ever opening day summit finish in modern race history. The Old Military Road climb from Auchallater to Glenshee measures 9.1 kilometres long, with the final five kilometres averaging a gradient of 4.8%.
Jim Savege, Chief Executive of Aberdeenshire Council, said: “We are delighted to be hosting the opening stage of the 2022 Tour of Britain alongside Aberdeen City Council. As was clearly demonstrated when we hosted the final stage of last year’s event, there is massive local support for cycling here in the north-east of Scotland, with the excellent TV coverage helping to promote the region to a global audience.
“Not only does hosting the Tour bring visitors to the region and provide a welcome boost for our local economy, it enables us to showcase Aberdeenshire as a wonderful cycling destination. It also provides us with an opportunity to promote cycling as a healthy, fun activity for all ages to enjoy – and from an active travel perspective that’s helping us to look after our local environment.
“We are ready to give these elite riders and their teams another warm north-east welcome in September and trust they will relish the challenging route we once again have in store for them. As a keen cyclist myself, I am convinced the spectacular finish at the Glenshee Ski Centre will be something the likes of which the teams won’t experience anywhere else!”
Aberdeen City Council Chief executive Angela Scott said: “Last year’s final stage was a huge success and resulted in expenditure of around £3m in the city and Aberdeenshire. We are delighted to be starting the 2022 race in the city centre - the Grand Départ is a bigger spectacle and we should see even more people attending the event this year.
“The Events365 Plan delivers a number of events in the city and having an international sporting event like the Tour is a big opportunity to boost footfall over that weekend. Despite the restrictions of Covid-19 in 2021, the event was incredibly well attended. This year we are planning on a number of supporting activities to celebrate the Tour, welcoming the international teams and riders and showcasing Aberdeen as an events and tourism destination.”
Chris Foy, CEO of VisitAberdeenshire said: “Hosting the Grand Départ of this prestigious event will enhance the North-east’s profile as one of the country’s emerging cycling destinations. National TV coverage will turn a spotlight on our majestic landscape from the heart of the Granite city to an iconic climb to the finish at the Glenshee ski station in the spectacular East Cairngorms.
“We look forward to building on the momentum gathered in 2021 as spectators come out in force along the route to cheer on some of the sport’s top names and support local businesses at the same time.”
Vice-chair of Nestrans Dr Maggie Bochel said: “There is great passion for cycling in the north-east. The Tour of Britain, the fringe cycling events and the different ways to participate in the build-up, help us all to celebrate and share this enthusiasm.
“The route that the professional cyclists will take will showcase some of the region’s most challenging and beautiful rides. In creating a cycling legacy, we must also support the every-day routes that we use to travel to work, education or within our communities. It is Nestrans role to support cycling - and other forms of active travel - by working with partners to help create and enhance a safe and well-connected network of routes, to ensure that our city and towns offer attractive and accessible options for active travel.”
Alistair Robertson, Managing Director of Sport Aberdeen, said: “It is fantastic to see the Tour of Britain confirm its return to the north-east, this time with the race beginning in Aberdeen city centre. The buzz around Aberdeen last year when the race made its first debut to the city for the finish on the final day was immense.
“Cycling is a sport for all ages and abilities to enjoy and at Sport Aberdeen we collaborate with several cycling charities to deliver Learn to Bike sessions and Bikeability in schools throughout the city. We want to ensure that all children can enjoy this skill for life.”
Last year’s star-studded race was won by Belgian rider Wout Van Aert (Team Jumbo – Visma), with reigning world road race champion Julian Alaphilippe finishing third overall. A roadside crowd of over one million spectators resulted in the Tour of Britain generating £29.96m of net economic benefit for the UK economy, according to research by Frontline.
For further information, visit the Tour of Britain website at www.tourofbritain.co.uk/stages/stage-one/