Tour of Britain upgraded to 2.HC

British event enters second-highest echelon of stage races

by John Stevenson   February 4, 2014  

Tour of Britain 2013 logo

 

The Tour of Britain — Britain’s biggest annual stage race — has had its rating upgraded by the UCI to 2.HC, the second-highest grade after the WorldTour. That sits the Tour of Britain alongside the Tour de Langkawi, Tour of California and long-established European races such as the Critérium International, Four Days of Dunkirk and Tour of Austria.

Commenting on the news, SweetSpot race director, Mick Bennett, said: “We are delighted by today’s announcement, which comes as a culmination of ten year’s hard work by the SweetSpot team.

“The award of 2.HC status is another step forward for The Tour of Britain, and we look forward to this September’s edition of the race being the best yet.

“The upgrade is also a reward for the many hundreds of thousands ofspectators who have lined the route and cheered on the race over the past decade.”

British Cycling’s cycle sport and membership director Jonny Clay said:

“We’re delighted that The Tour of Britain has attained a place alongside some of the most historic races on the global cycling calendar.

“Credit must be given to SweetSpot for their stewardship of the race to date and we look forward to working with them over the next five years to continue the growth of the event as both a monument of the sport and as a British sporting success.

“This is a well-deserved recognition of the status of the sport in Britain and of the work that British Cycling has done to put Great Britain amongst the top cycling nations in the world.”

The Tour of Britain has grown in status over the last few years, despite a shaky start in the early 2000s when the race was troubled by issues closing roads and securing high-quality police assistance.

However, the race has attracted increasingly high-quality fields in the last few years and was won last year by Sir Bradley Wiggins.

The UCI classifies road stage races on a four-category scale from the lowest, 2.2, through 2.1, 2.HC and WorldTour. As you move up the scale, organisers are obliged to provide greater prize money and the race and its stages attract more UCI points. All of that makes the event more attractive to top riders.

When the 2014 race calendar was announced last year, SweetSpot expressed disappointment and mystification that it had not been granted 2.HC status despite a request to put it on equal footing with the Tours of Turkey, Austria and Luxembourg.

When the race calendar was being finalised, incumbent UCI president Pat McQuaid was engaged in an increasingly desperate fight to retain cycling’s top job, a fight he eventually lost to then British Cycling president Brian Cookson.

Further details of the 2014 Tour of Britain, which runs from September 7 to 14, will be announced at the race’s national Launch in the Spring.

10 user comments

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Splendid!

Asolare

posted by Goldfever4 [169 posts]
4th February 2014 - 17:01

19 Likes

Really hoping this leads to bigger and better things for the ToB. Last year's field of riders was good but not great with only 5 WT teams out of 19 on the start line (when 2.1 cat allows for 50%). Perhaps this race is a victim of its own scheduling? (post-TdF, clashing with Vuelta, close to the Worlds). Thoughts?

Him Up North's picture

posted by Him Up North [235 posts]
4th February 2014 - 18:32

16 Likes

Him Up North wrote:
Really hoping this leads to bigger and better things for the ToB. Last year's field of riders was good but not great with only 5 WT teams out of 19 on the start line (when 2.1 cat allows for 50%). Perhaps this race is a victim of its own scheduling? (post-TdF, clashing with Vuelta, close to the Worlds). Thoughts?

Some truth there - but ToC runs at the same time as the Giro, doesn't it? Two things will happen over the coming years - more WT teams will come, albeit sending second-string squads, and the GB teams will get stronger, maybe one or two jumping up to pro-conti level. So talent-wise it'll start to meet in the middle and the race will establish itself as a fixture.

Compare the crowds at ToB against Paris-Nice or Tirreno-Adriatico and it gets clearer why some races will rise and other will (eventually) fade away.

Great news though. Definitely deserves the 2.HC.

Ghedebrav's picture

posted by Ghedebrav [1102 posts]
4th February 2014 - 19:23

11 Likes

...and rightly so. Well deserved.

Don't buy upgrades. Ride up grades. (Merckx)

obutterwick's picture

posted by obutterwick [536 posts]
4th February 2014 - 20:41

7 Likes

Ace news, the race has had my support on the roadside for the last two years in Devon. Well done to all the organisers.

We're all entitled to a reasonable opinion!

posted by Guyz2010 [290 posts]
4th February 2014 - 21:27

9 Likes

Seems a world away from watching the Milk Race and the Kellogg's Tour of Britain with a bit of, well it's a cycle race isn't it? Yeah (while half enthusiastically waving arms in the air). Shows how far cycling in the UK has come now. Great news.

posted by Ghostie [86 posts]
4th February 2014 - 22:40

9 Likes

Deserved it!!!

posted by jarredscycling [457 posts]
4th February 2014 - 23:02

5 Likes

Pretty obvious this = THE TOUR DE FRANCE is in the country, ASO are planning a further mini-stage race in Yorkshire due to the fact they have brilliant roads over on that side of the Pennines.

Is life gonna get any better from a cycling p.o.v ? Wink

posted by yenrod [103 posts]
5th February 2014 - 14:40

8 Likes

Great news but I am still worry about the UK domestic pro scene.

Away from Sky we aren't awash with teams and sponsors.

jimmythecuckoo's picture

posted by jimmythecuckoo [1291 posts]
5th February 2014 - 16:00

7 Likes

Brilliant news! This means more television viewers round the world will be able to see all the cars parked up on the route of a professional road race!

posted by farrell [1565 posts]
5th February 2014 - 16:07

8 Likes