Tour of Britain heads to Aberdeenshire

Competitors ride through the village of Timsbury during the 2018 Tour of Britain (by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Councils have agreed a two-year deal to host stages of the Tour of Britain cycling race in the Scottish region for the first time.

The agreement with Tour organiser SweetSpot will begin with the final stage of next year’s race on September 13. Building on the success of the Tour Series, which has taken place in Aberdeen since 2017, the Tour of Britain will also host its 2021 Grand Depart in the region.

Today’s (Monday’s) announcement means that three of next year’s eight stages have now been unveiled, with the first two legs to take place in the English counties of Cornwall and Devon on September 6-7. The full race route will be unveiled at the Tour’s national launch in early 2020.

Paul Bush, VisitScotland’s director of events, said: “Securing the event was part of a longer-term strategy to bring more cycling events to the ‘Granite City’, starting with the Tour Series.

“Events play a key role in our visitor economy and the addition of the Tour comes at an exciting time for the city and the region, which has recently seen the reopening of the Aberdeen Art Gallery along with the opening of the brand-new events venue, P&J Live. These world-class facilities together with this world-class event ensures Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire continues to move in its new direction of becoming a credible player on Scotland’s tourism stage.”

Cllr Jim Gifford, Leader of Aberdeenshire Council, added: “This is a wonderful opportunity to showcase the stunning landscapes of our region to a global audience, attract spectators both locally and from afar to enjoy world-class cycling and to support our economy through hotel stays, or spending money in local shops and businesses.

“I also hope that the residents and business community of the North East get involved, either as spectators, through sponsorship or by getting involved in one of the many supporting events that we expect to take place during the event. This will be a truly celebratory event that will put the region firmly on the map as a destination for world class sporting events, tourism and business.”

Earlier this month, SweetSpot announced it is seeking a new title partner for the Tour of Britain from 2020 onwards following the conclusion of a three-year partnership with Ovo Energy.