Aberdeen and wider Aberdeenshire will play host to cycling’s Tour of Britain in 2020 and 2021, organisers of Britain’s biggest cycling race have confirmed.
It follows the success of the smaller scale Tour Series event, staged in the Granite City in 2017, 2018 and earlier this year.
Next year, the modern edition of the Tour – taking place between September 6 and 13 – will venture the furthest north it has ever been as the region plays host to the final stage of the race, before the opening grand depart takes place in the north-east in 2021.
Race director Mick Bennett said: “Following the success of the Tour Series’ visits since 2017, we’re delighted that the final stage of next year’s Tour of Britain will be heading to Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.
“With its mix of stunning landscapes, historic architecture, passionate fans and gruelling terrain, it promises to be a spectacular finale to the UK’s biggest bike race.
“It’s going to be a historic stage: the modern edition of the Tour has never been so far north before, so I’d like to thank everybody who has made it possible. Roll on September!”
The north-east public could welcome some of cycling’s biggest names in action, with superstar Sir Bradley Wiggins a previous winner and Mark Cavendish taking part in this year’s event.
Aberdeen City Council co-leader councillor Jenny Laing said: “Securing the Tour of Britain is a sign of our ambition and determination as a council to bring the biggest, best and most vibrant events to Aberdeen and the north-east.
“I have no doubt it will be a huge attraction to local audiences as well as bringing in visitors from throughout Britain and across the world.
“Through our Aberdeen 365 events strategy we have established a world class programme and this represents another fantastic addition to a calendar that is not only of benefit to local residents culturally but also to our economy by driving footfall and visitor spend.
“We look forward to welcoming the Tour of Britain and showcasing Aberdeen.”
Meanwhile, councillor Jim Gifford, leader of Aberdeenshire Council, said: “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.”
Other stages already announced for next year are Cornwall and Devon, with organisers stating this year’s Tour generated £20.5 million for the British economy. Around 1.4m spectators watched the various stages live, while every stage was broadcast on television.