Ovo Energy Tour of Britain UCI 2.HC (07.09-14.09)

Here it is, the most anticipated race of the year...


So, anyway... Stage 1:

this year the race begins in Glasgow, Glaschu in Scottish Gaelic, which roughly translates as "dear green place". It's the greenest city in Europe and has been very green this year, and brown and grey too because it hasn't stopped raining. But, it looks like we might have ordered our yearly day of sun (this isn't continental sun, this is weak Scottish sun to ensure the local population don't go up in flames...) to send the riders on their way with happier memories than the last time some of them raced on our fair streets and suffered more punctures than a drunk man fighting a family of porcupines.

They will complete a parade lap around the city taking them up the steep incline of Montrose street (twice!), that many will remember fondly, for absolutely no reason whatsoever because it's within the neutralised section. After this they will follow a familiar route (because they rode it a few minutes earlier...) down into Glasgow Green (did I mention Glasgow has lots of green places? It's in the name and everything). This time they continue along the side of the Clyde and turn left on Jamaica Street (opened and named in 1763 when the Rum and Sugar trade with Jamaica was starting to flourish. I wonder how that happened..? If you need a hint this article might help very obvious connection between Britain and the West Indies) just before Broomielaw and cross the Clyde. Travelling south out of the city along the A77 (there were discussions about using the partially built cycle lanes on Viccy Road but this idea was dropped when someone pointed out the road furniture and that Cavendish was on the start list) they will head through a plethora of wonderfully named areas including Strathbungo, Pollokshaws and Crossmyloof. Out towards Giffnock will, for them, be a joy as the closed roads mean they won't have to deal with the usual commuters trying to squash you into a bikelane next to a load of parked cars which, as chance would have it, is exactly the same width as the doors that regularly get opened into it.

A right turn at Eastwood Toll and they're heading past the bottom of Rouken Glen park (famous for its mighty cauldron where the worlds greatest cyclocross race is held...) and then left towards Stewarton. The road out to Stewarton is where many local freds will predict the action will start. It has some small bumps that have the portly wheezing, so the pros will no doubt take it approximately 97mph while eating the deep fried pizza (yes, we really do) they were handed by the cheering children they have encountered along the route.

At Stewarton a choice had to be made, do we go through Kilmarnock or Moscow? Because the UCI have to approve the route, Kilmarnock was chosen to avoid a lot of confusing emails and this gives me the excuse to point out that Kilmarnock Academy is one of only two State Schools in the world that have educated two Nobel Prize Laureates. Who you ask? No, not Barack Obama, don't believe every poorly spelling thing you read late at night on Twitter. Alexander Fleming, the man responsible for Penicillin and John Boyd Orr, the man whose name was given to the ugliest building on the Glasgow University campus. Kilmarnock is not known as the gateway to the Alps, it's not even known as the gateway to the Ayrshire Alps, but that's what it acts as here. So it's out through Glaston and down past Mossgiel and Mauchline, famous for their connections to Rabbie Burns , and on towards one of the hilliest regions in Ayrshire...

The mighty Alps of Ayshire stand literally metres tall and would make lesser men tremble with fear. Unfortunately, lesser men designed the route and these hellish hillocks are avoided as much as possible, without going near the coast because that might be a bit windy.

Once the bumps are out of the way it's a mad dash through Dumfries and Galloway. I could take the time to describe the Dark Sky park in Galloway forest, the Southern Upland Way, Kenmure Castle and the clans who inhabited this area and provided it with so much rich history, but frankly I'd be surprised if anyone is still reading this, my lunch hour is almost over and my haggis, neeps and tatties ain't going to eat themselves; so I'll just point out the weather around here is usually rubbish.

There is a small bump before the finish that might tempt the break of the day or prompt some attacks from riders desperate to reach the world famous artist town of Kirkcudbright first. The Glasgow Boys (no, not the young teams out smashing windows) were based in Kirkcudbright for over 30 years and T. E. Lawrence, Yes, Lawrence of Arabia no less!, spent two years here as an infant.

How will it end? tune in and find out, I'm sure it's going to be thrilling.

I assume no-one has any use for the route map or profile now, but just in case here they are:




 
Stage 2:

Edinburgh is crap. Don’t care.

Edit: Real review will follow. Stay tuned for sensational information about the Coldstream Guard, the vital organs of Robert the Bruce and why Tarzan may be seen swinging above the peloton!
 
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Excellent OP. 10 times more exciting than stage 1 or 2 is going to be!

Why oh why do the Tour of Britain seem to go out of their way to avoid making interesting Scottish stages. We could be have had any of the following:

  • gravel roads through the Galloway Forest dark sky park;
  • the Tour of the Border route;
  • laps of Arthur's Seat, Victoria Street, the Royal Mail and Dundas Street
  • the Duke's Pass and the Campsies;
  • a figure of 8 round Arran;
  • a Lowther Hill MTT
  • a fife coast echelon stage;
  • circle of Loch Tay and Glen Lyon include the climb out of Kenmore over to Garrow and the pass over by the Ben Lawers car park;
  • Pitlochry - Strathardle - Glenshee - The Lecht - Cairngorn;
  • the Banff and Buchan coast - wind and leg breakingly steep short climbs
  • Mallaig Inverness via southside of Loch Ness
  • Torriden, Applecross, and the Bealach Na Ba
  • a Trotternish and Dunvegal Loop
  • Lairg - The Crask - Tongue - Durness - Drumbeg - Lochinvar - Ullapool
  • Port of Ness to Leverburgh
- Lochboisdale to Ruisgarry

... but instead we get this pish!

Also, I probably need to lay off the lunchtime dram.
 
Jul 15, 2019
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Not the most exciting route for the whole race this year. Hopefully it won't be decided by bonus seconds. The two hardest rated climbs in the race (3.7k @ 5.9% and 1.3k @ 8.8%) are 110 and 72km from the finish of their respective stages.
 
Not the most exciting route for the whole race this year. Hopefully it won't be decided by bonus seconds. The two hardest rated climbs in the race (3.7k @ 5.9% and 1.3k @ 8.8%) are 110 and 72km from the finish of their respective stages.
With just the 2 small uphill finishes on stage 4 to Kendal (600m @ 6%) and stage 7 Burton Dassett (1.4km @ 5.8%), it could well come down to someone smashing the 14km TT.
 
If you look at start of stage to Kendal you will find a climb of 2.7 km at 7% Haggs Lane in Gateshead. I have no idea why there is no Kim points for this climb. For some reason speed bumps have just been added to the road on the descent to Street Gate.
 
Jul 15, 2019
52
8
195
If you look at start of stage to Kendal you will find a climb of 2.7 km at 7% Haggs Lane in Gateshead. I have no idea why there is no Kim points for this climb. For some reason speed bumps have just been added to the road on the descent to Street Gate.
If the profile on PCS is correct, the same stage features a categorised climb of 4km at 4%, followed shortly afterwards by 4km at 6% which offers no mountain points. Work that one out. Both stages around the Pennines have most of the climbs in the first half of the stage.
 
Reactions: Sandisfan
They have put the signs for the road closures on stage 5. To say they are understated is probably understating it. Some drivers may get a shock on the 11th to find themselves diverted. I will miss it due to work.
Ah, the Wirral stage. Maybe I should be careful what I say about Birkenhead, Ellesmere Port, Rock Ferry, Little Stanney and Great Sutton until I find out where you're from..? #PortSunlightMassive
 
Excellent OP. 10 times more exciting than stage 1 or 2 is going to be!

Why oh why do the Tour of Britain seem to go out of their way to avoid making interesting Scottish stages. We could be have had any of the following:

  • gravel roads through the Galloway Forest dark sky park;
  • the Tour of the Border route;
  • laps of Arthur's Seat, Victoria Street, the Royal Mail and Dundas Street
  • the Duke's Pass and the Campsies;
  • a figure of 8 round Arran;
  • a Lowther Hill MTT
  • a fife coast echelon stage;
  • circle of Loch Tay and Glen Lyon include the climb out of Kenmore over to Garrow and the pass over by the Ben Lawers car park;
  • Pitlochry - Strathardle - Glenshee - The Lecht - Cairngorn;
  • the Banff and Buchan coast - wind and leg breakingly steep short climbs
  • Mallaig Inverness via southside of Loch Ness
  • Torriden, Applecross, and the Bealach Na Ba
  • a Trotternish and Dunvegal Loop
  • Lairg - The Crask - Tongue - Durness - Drumbeg - Lochinvar - Ullapool
  • Port of Ness to Leverburgh
- Lochboisdale to Ruisgarry

... but instead we get this pish!

Also, I probably need to lay off the lunchtime dram.
Ah, the mythical Tour of Scotland, the greatest concept race ever to exist outside of the mind of @Libertine Seguros. Saor Alba my friend, Saor Alba.



As it's the morning and I haven't yet had my daily ration of the water of life (that's Cognac, just to cause trouble!) I can be more sensible. I've been told by people involved with a few races in Scotland that planning these things up here is really difficult. As soon as you get out of the central belt you struggle to find appropriate accommodation etc. for such a large number of people and, crucially, spectators who will bring money into the area and make it worthwhile. Maybe the could do something where teams and equipment are limited to a couple of big motorhomes (seriously!). TTs on road bikes etc. and try and promote a different kind of racing. I'd be very interested to see something like that.

I did that climb out of Kenmore on my fixed gear, if you mean the one heading to Amulree over the switchbacks. It's possibly the stupidest thing I've ever done and I bought Rob Thomas' first solo album. It was meant to be a shortcut instead of going over Ben Lawers and stopping in Aberfeldy. I'm pretty certain it took me longer than that would have.

I think another issue is they always want to finish down South and are unwilling to have the GC decided in the first two stages. Maybe one year they could do a LE-JOG style route, I would have thought Inverness could host enough people.
 
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Reactions: Sandisfan
He usually does everything a little bit better than Van Aert but I also think that time trialling is probably the exception.
Even Van Aert, apart from that random prologue win, didn't really start winning big time trials before Jumbo Visma and professional help with his position.

VdP doesn't have the practice or the support to do a proper time trial. The few times he did try in his road career didn't really work out either btw, except, ofcourse, a prologue win. There its pure power over position anyway.

I remember a worlds ITT as junior where he was unbelievably bad and then won the road race anyway.

That being said, I do think Van der Poel has potential for the time trial. As basically all he does all winter are 1 hour solo's at high intensity. Just needs to work on his position on a TT bike for that..
 
Ah, the mythical Tour of Scotland, the greatest concept race ever to exist outside of the mind of @Libertine Seguros. Saor Alba my friend, Saor Alba.



As it's the morning and I haven't yet had my daily ration of the water of life (that's Cognac, just to cause trouble!) I can be more sensible. I've been told by people involved with a few races in Scotland that planning these things up here is really difficult. As soon as you get out of the central belt you struggle to find appropriate accommodation etc. for such a large number of people and, crucially, spectators who will bring money into the area and make it worthwhile. Maybe the could do something where teams and equipment are limited to a couple of big motorhomes (seriously!). TTs on road bikes etc. and try and promote a different kind of racing. I'd be very interested to see something like that.

I did that climb out of Kenmore on my fixed gear, if you mean the one heading to Amulree over the switchbacks. It's possibly the stupidest thing I've ever done and I bought Rob Thomas' first solo album. It was meant to be a shortcut instead of going over Ben Lawers and stopping in Aberfeldy. I'm pretty certain it took me longer than that would have.

I think another issue is they always want to finish down South and are unwilling to have the GC decided in the first two stages. Maybe one year they could do a LE-JOG style route, I would have thought Inverness could host enough people.
Aye, some of those stages are a pipe-dream and, as you say, belong in a mythical Tour of Scotland - I really should do one for the race design thread.

However, with a little thought and creativity I think they could be made some of them work.

I've got a little time of lets have a think...
  • gravel roads through the Galloway Forest dark sky park;
I see no problems here, could start and end in the same places are stage 1.
  • the Tour of the Border route;
Again no issues here. There should be plenty of accommodation in the Tweed Valley and if not it's not far from Edinburgh if not.
  • laps of Arthur's Seat, Victoria Street, the Royal Mail and Dundas Street
Other than shutting down the centre of Edinburgh for this should be practical. Could be a single lap TT on road bikes instead or a road stage.
  • the Duke's Pass and the Campsies;
Should be feasable
  • a figure of 8 round Arran;
Okay, this probably isn't practical
  • a Lowther Hill MTT
There is accommodation at the Travellodge at Abington but, unless the Wanlochhead Inn or Ski Club are significantly more profitable than I imagine ;-), I don't suppose anyone is going to pay for it
  • a fife coast echelon stage;
Edinburgh to St. Andrew - should be plenty of cash and accommodation.
  • circle of Loch Tay and Glen Lyon include the climb out of Kenmore over to Garrow and the pass over by the Ben Lawers car park;
That's the climb, nearly broke my knees at 39x25 so on it fixie it must have been brutal. Roads are probably too narrow for a major race and accommodation is probably an issue
  • Pitlochry - Strathardle - Glenshee - The Lecht - Cairngorn;
If they used your LEJOG style route idea. This would make a decent final or penultimate stage. Plenty of accomodation in Pitlochry and Aviemore/Glenmore Lodge. Cairngorm Mountain/HIE could use the advertising and if they weren't so appallingly managed and hadn't been run by charlatans for several years they would have the cash - anyway but don't get me started on that!
  • the Banff and Buchan coast - wind and leg breakingly steep short climbs
Aberdeen to Inverness should be feasable at the final stage of a LEJOG style route
  • Mallaig Inverness via southside of Loch Ness
Accommodation in Mallaig is probably lacking but Fort William has plenty
  • Torriden, Applecross, and the Bealach Na Ba
This is the stage I'd most like to see. A descent finish to Applecross after the Bealach Na Ba would be epic. I guess it's not practical but come on ....






  • a Trotternish and Dunvegal Loop
Roads probably too narrow (doesnae stop the NC500ers 'reet enough!)
  • Lairg - The Crask - Tongue - Durness - Drumbeg - Lochinvar - Ullapool
Probably too remote, maybe Inverness to Ullapool could be made to work...
  • Port of Ness to Leverburgh
Epic but no, especially no' on a Sunday...
  • Lochboisdale to Ruisgarry
See above.

I get very fustrated with the ToB in general to be honest. We have the so many short sharp climbs on twisting and narrow roads in the UK, and so much poor weather there is great potential for encouraging aggresive classic-style racing but instead we generally get a race usually decided by the TT and some reduced group sprints.
 

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