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Tour of Britain: Aberdeen ‘can rival Glasgow and Edinburgh’ as sport venue

Some of the world's top cyclists will compete in the Tour of Britain.
Some of the world's top cyclists will compete in the Tour of Britain.

Organisers would be “mad” not to consider hosting major sporting events in Aberdeen, according to bosses of the Tour of Britain.

The Granite City is the location for the decisive stage of the 2021 edition of the UK’s biggest cycling event next month, and will also host the first stage of next year’s event.

Race organiser Sweetspot has previously brought its successful Tour Series event to the city on three occasions and have been “blown away” by the welcome they have received.

Football and rugby internationals have been held in the north-east in the past while the 2019 Sports Personality of the Year was held at P&J Live.

Now, with improving transport connections and a new state-of-the-art stadium in the pipeline, Tour chiefs believe Aberdeen is capable of hosting elite sport.

They feel the city should “rival Glasgow and Edinburgh” as a go-to destination for high-profile fixtures and events.

Organisers ‘mad’ not to consider city

“We first came up for the Tour Series in 2017 and since then we have 100% believed Aberdeen is capable of hosting more elite sporting events,” said Peter Hodges, the event’s marketing director.

“Rugby and football internationals have already been played at Pittodrie in the past. There is going to be a new stadium and there is already the new events centre [P&J Live].

Tour of Britain marketing director Peter Hodges.

“Sports Personality of the Year has been held in the city as well so there is a track record of big events being held there.

“There’s an international airport, the new bypass and good rail links so it is accessible.

“Other organisers would be mad not to consider Aberdeen. The city should be rivalling Glasgow and Edinburgh for hosting big events.”

The final stage of the tour on September 12, which will cover a 173-kilometre route between Stonehaven and Aberdeen, is expected to deliver a huge boost to the north-east economy.

Estimates suggest businesses in the north-east could be in line for a windfall of around £2 million from a single day, with longer-lasting benefits coming from those who visit having watched the race on television.

Long-term boost for cycling

Organisers also hope the arrival of the Tour of Britain in the region will encourage more people to take up cycling, with studies showing more than half of those who watch the event are inspired to cycle more.

“Aberdeen, from our experience bringing the Tour Series to the city, has been fantastic,” Peter said.

“There seems to be a real passion for cycling, and every time we have been the crowds have been amazing.

“A race is very different to commuting but if we can play a part in someone who isn’t a cyclist giving it a try and getting into it we have made a difference.

“Every year the tour commissions an independent impact report, and in 2019 56% of people surveyed said they were inspired to cycle more, which is a pretty good figure.

“We do firmly believe the event inspires people, and from our experience the reception we have received in Aberdeen in the past is very positive.”

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