Team GB Olympic medallists Sir Bradley Wiggins, Mark Cavendish and Owain Doull will be among the world’s top riders taking part in this year’s Tour of Britain, which hits the Peak District today (Tuesday).
Tuesday’s stage three of Britain’s premier road cycling event will feature a first visit to Cheshire East with a stage from Congleton to Tatton Park outside Knutsford.
The challenging 112-mile leg will take in the A537 Cat and Fiddle road on the outskirts of Buxton, a steep climb of more than ten kilometres and the longest and highest climb of the entire 2016 race.
Seven British teams will line-up for the Tour of Britain, led by Team Sky and also including Team Wiggins and a Great Britain national team.
Already confirmed are the likes of Olympic medallists Wiggins, Doull, Cavendish and Tom Dumoulin, plus multiple Tour de France stage winners Andre Greipel, Rohan Dennis and Steve Cummings. A host of British stars like Alex Dowsett, Ian Stannard and Mark McNally will also race.
Wiggins, who claimed his fifth Olympic gold medal at Rio and his eighth cycling medal overall, will race alongside Doull and Jonathan Dibben under the Team Wiggins banner. This will be Wiggins’ ninth Tour of Britain race, which gets underway in Glasgow on Sunday.
Britain’s record Tour de France stage winner Cavendish - who secured his first Olympic medal in Rio with silver in the Omnium track event - will ride for Team Dimension Data.
Cheshire East Council leader, Rachel Bailey, said: “This is tremendous news for the tour and can only further increase interest in this fantastic event. We are very proud to be hosting a stage fully within Cheshire East and look forward with great anticipation to seeing the roads of the borough lined with our residents enjoying this very special occasion.”
Stage three on Tuesday September 6 will begin with the riders heading out from the market town of Congleton, before the peloton makes its way west, passing through Crewe and Nantwich, and then looping back on themselves towards Sandbach.
From there it is a weaving route north up towards the first passage of the finish line, which will be located in the heart of Tatton Park, where spectators will be able to see the race twice, plus watch the live coverage on a big screen.
After crossing the line, the riders will start a large loop which sees them passing through Alderley Edge, Prestbury and Bollington, before entering the Peak District National Park at Pott Shrigley ahead of what will be the stage’s second King of the Mountains section along Bakestonedale Road.
A descent of the B5470 into Macclesfield will be followed by the ten-kilometre King of the Mountains climb up to the A537 Cat and Fiddle Inn, the second highest public house in England at 515 metres above sea level, as the race enters the Peak District for the second time.
At the summit, the riders will turn back on themselves along the A54 down towards the Bosley crossroads, before racing back through Knutsford to the finish in Tatton Park.
Tour of Britain Race Director, Mick Bennett, added: “Stage Three will present spectators with the chance to see the Tour of Britain on multiple occasions, not least of which at the finish in Tatton Park where we will have a passage of the line mid-afternoon, making it one of the best spectating locations on this year’s route. The stage combines the gently rolling roads of the Cheshire Plain with some key climbs such as the Cat and Fiddle in the Peak District.”
Three-hours of live coverage will be broadcast from each stage of the Tour of Britain, with both ITV4 and the BIKE Channel UK showing the race live, while ITV4 will also air a one-hour highlights programme each day.