Details of the north-east-based final stage of this year’s Tour of Britain cycle race have been revealed, with the route featuring a tough climb in the Cairngorms and a trip through the city.
The Stonehaven to Aberdeen stage will be the most northerly in the prestigious race’s history, and will represent the first time it has finished in Scotland since 2008.
Organisers chose to bring the event to the city following the success of the Ovo Energy Tour Series stages it hosted in 2017, 2018 and 2019.
Similar to those races, the cyclists in the Tour of Britain peloton will go through a number of Granite City streets – though this time, they will have just completed a slog through the hills of Aberdeenshire.
The final stage, which will take place on September 12, will lead the cyclists west from the start line in Stonehaven until they reach Fettercairn.
The Skoda King of the Mountains climb will begin there, taking them up the Cairn O’Mount and lasting 3.35km with an average 9.5% incline.
They will then have to tackle Corsedardar Hill and cycle over to Ballater – the furthest west point on the route – before heading towards Aberdeen via another spectacular climb at Queens View.
The cyclists will travel along Skene Street, Hutcheon Street and King Street before finally ending the 173km stage beside the sea on the city’s Beach Esplanade.
Aberdeenshire Council leader Andy Kille said: “The route announcement of the final stage of the Tour of Britain is something we have long waited for and feels incredibly significant for our region.
“Seeing the teams line up in Stonehaven and then taking on some of our spectacular climbs and sprint stretches will be exciting. The eyes of the world will be on us.”
Aberdeen City Council Leader Jenny Laing added: “We welcome today’s announcement, which many people have eagerly been waiting for.
“We look forward to hosting the Tour of Britain in Aberdeen in September and enjoying the many positive impacts at a regional level for tourism, health and wellbeing.
“This will be a fantastic opportunity to showcase the north-east, one that signals our ambition as a council to build momentum around our post-Covid economic recovery plans.”
The 2021 Tour of Britain will go ahead subject to local conditions and in line with relevant national Covid guidelines and UCI protocols, after last year’s event was cancelled due to the pandemic.
Before heading up to the north-east, the peloton will visit the Borders and Edinburgh for a penultimate stage that will end outside the Scottish Parliament – meaning, for the first time in the race’s modern history, the last two stages will both be in Scotland.
Nick Rennie, Scottish Cycling’s CEO, added: “Following on from the Olympic and Paralympic Games, it will be fantastic to see world class cycling back on Scottish roads.
“There is no doubt events of this stature inspire our cycling communities – be that beginners, club riders or elite racers – and I have no doubt the 2021 edition will have exactly the same effect.”
Mick Bennett, Tour of Britain race director, said: “This year’s Tour of Britain route is truly spectacular, covering a greater geographical area than we’ve ever done before while also ticking off several things we’ve wanted to do for a long time.
“There are still fantastic opportunities for partners to get involved in the event, so why not join us and be a part of what will be an unforgettable week and a fantastic celebration of Britain and cycling!”