This year’s Tour of Britain, the UK’s biggest cycle race, will feature its first return to the legendary Caerphilly Mountain climb since 2013 as part of a spectacular final stage in South Wales.
Stage eight of the Tour will see over 100 of the world’s best riders race from the picturesque Margam Country Park to the finish line in the shadows of Caerphilly Castle on Sunday 10 September.
Far from being a ceremonial end to the race, the battle to be crowned Tour of Britain champion will go down to the wire thanks to a stunning but challenging route supported by the Welsh Government.
The sting in the tail comes in the form of a double ascent of Caerphilly Mountain, the gradient of which averages 10.1% across its 1.3 kilometres. An estimated 10,000 spectators lined the route of this much-loved climb in 2013, the last time it featured in the Tour of Britain.
This will mark Caerphilly’s fourth appearance as a Tour of Britain stage finish, while Margam Country Park is a new-for-2023 host venue.
Stage eight is support in principle by Welsh Government as part of an agreement unveiled in 2022 that will see the Tour of Britain and its sister race, the Women’s Tour, each visit the country in alternate years through to 2026.
Dawn Bowden, Deputy Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, said: “We’re looking forward to welcoming the Tour of Britain back again later this year. Wales’ credentials for hosting cycling events is now well-established. The Tour of Britain and Women’s Tour are the perfect showcase for our landscape as well as the welcome we provide to the competitors and spectators – and we look forward to working with our Local Authority partners as the Tour of Britain continues to reach new areas Wales. Seeing some of the world’s best riders is also an excellent way of inspiring people to get active and explore Wales on their bikes.”
Margam Country Park is well known to cycling as the home to one of the oldest and most iconic sportives, the Dragon Ride, while the 1,000-acre park has also been a regular host of mountain biking events, including the 2022 Welsh MTB Marathon Championships.
Councillor Steve Hunt, Leader of Neath Port Talbot Council, said: “We are delighted to welcome the Tour of Britain to Neath Port Talbot, a community with a proud sporting heritage. You could not ask for a more dramatic setting than Margam Country Park for the start of stage eight and I hope cycling fans are inspired to discover what makes our area so special.”
“The world-class trails at Margam and nearby Afan Forest Park attract visitors from far and wide and we are continuing to develop our network of cycling routes across the county borough. We are proud to host such a prestigious event and are working closely with race organisers and local partners to maximise the economic and community benefits that it will bring.”
Councillor Sean Morgan, Leader of Caerphilly Council, said: “We are delighted to get the opportunity to host the final stage of this major sporting event. The magnificent backdrop of Caerphilly Castle will provide a spectacular setting as the riders cross the finishing line – especially after tackling the gruelling Caerphilly Mountain climb. I’m sure residents and businesses will join me in welcoming the event, which will help put Caerphilly on the map for an international audience.”
Caroline Spanton, Welsh Cycling CEO, said: “We are delighted to see the Tour of Britain return to Wales, bringing with it the excitement and spectacle of top-class cycling to our doorstep. The Tour provides a fantastic opportunity for people of all generations and in particular our younger generations to witness first-hand the passion, athleticism, and thrill of cycling.
“By watching these world class athletes racing through our towns, we hope that young people can be inspired to get on their own bikes and explore the Welsh landscape around them and hopefully cultivates a lifelong love of this amazing sport alongside their families and friends.”
Mick Bennett, Tour of Britain race director, said: “Together with the Welsh Government we wanted to design a stage that would combine sporting drama with visiting new areas of the country for the Tour of Britain, and, of course, including the climbs that south Wales is famous for.
“We are confident that, with the help of the Welsh Government and our stakeholders in Wales, we have achieved just that with a route that will take the outcome of the Tour down to the final climb. Stage eight is going to be challenging for these amazing riders, feature a true party atmosphere along the route, and will look incredible on TV for those watching around the world. I cannot wait!”
This year’s Tour of Britain will begin in Greater Manchester on Sunday 3 September. The world’s best riders will also visit north Wales on stage two, which takes place in Wrexham. East Riding of Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire, Suffolk and Essex will all feature before the much-anticipated finale in South Wales.
Over one million spectators are expected to line the route of this unforgettable event, which also celebrates community pride, inspires future generations through a comprehensive school engagement programme, and promotes healthy living for all.
More details of this year’s race, including full stage routes and competing teams, will be announced in the coming weeks.
ITV4 will continue to broadcast live flag-to-flag coverage of every stage, as well as a nightly highlights show, allowing fans in the UK to watch the action unfold wherever they are. International coverage will be available in over 100 countries via Discovery Player and GCN+.