08 Gears up to be Tour of Britain Finale

Liverpool’s European Capital of Culture year has gone up a gear with the news it is to replace London as the finale for the Tour of Britain in 2008.

The move from UK to Culture Capital will mean Britain’s biggest bike race will finish outside London for the first time.

Liverpool’s honour to stage the tours showpiece event in 08 is part of a three-year deal between the Liverpool Culture Company and the tour organisers – and will be a major highlight of the city’s Capital of Culture sports strategy.

As part of the deal announced today, to launch this year’s National Cycle Week, the city will stage the end of the Northwest stage this year on Wednesday, August 30. In 2007 it will host the start of the regional stage during the week of its 800th birthday celebrations.

The Northwest stage of The Tour, which is sponsored by the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA), attracted 55,000 spectators last year with the route starting in Carlisle and ending in Blackpool. This year it will start in Blackpool.

Leader of Liverpool City Council, Councillor Warren Bradley, said: ”Hosting the finale of the Tour of Britain in 2008 is a huge honour. It will give the city great profile and a chance to showcase the renaissance which has been taking place. And with thousands lining the streets, the day is set to be a memorable highlight of our Capital of Culture year.”

As part of the deal, Liverpool is seeking to build a whole host of events and activities to encourage more local people to take to their bikes.

The 2006 Tour of Britain Route:

* Stage 1 – Scotland
* Glasgow to Castle Douglas 160km

* Stage 2 – Northwest
* Blackpool to Liverpool 152km

* Stage 3 – Yorkshire
* Route to be announced 160km

* Stage 4 – West Midlands
* Wolverhampton to Birmingham 120km

* Stage 5 – Southeast
* Rochester to Canterbury 152km

* Stage 6 – London
* Greenwich to The Mall 80km

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