Liverpool is to host the start of the 2014 Tour of Britain, which runs from 7-14 September – the first time the city has hosted the race since a stage began there in 2007.
The opening stage will comprise 10 laps of a 13-kilometre circuit, starting and finishing on The Strand, against the backdrop of the city’s Three Graces – the Royal Liver Building, the Cunard Building, and the Port of Liverpool Authority.
The city’s assistant mayor and cabinet member responsible for sport, Councillor Wendy Simon, commented: "This is a huge coup for the city. It's wonderful news that this world famous sporting event will begin in Liverpool.
"This race attracts some of the best riders from across the globe with previous races featuring elite cyclists such as Bradley Wiggins, Mark Cavendish and Chris Froome.
"There's a real momentum building for cycling in this city. The latest figures show more people than ever are using bikes here and there's a real appetite for it at the moment.
“And with the launch of our cycle hire scheme – the biggest in the UK outside of London - there has never been a better time for Liverpool to host this high profile event.”
The exact route of the circuit in Liverpool will be revealed shortly and organisers SweetSpot say there will also be a mass participation event held to coincide with the city hosting the race.
Tour of Britain race director, Mick Bennett, said: "We are delighted that this year's Tour of Britain can start with such a prestigious stage in the centre of Liverpool.
"The opening circuit will be perfectly suited to the sprinters, and whoever wins Stage One will pull on the first yellow jersey of 2014.
"With the support of Liverpool City Council we are looking forward to making this year's Grand Depart a memorable occasion for cycling fans.”
The start and finish locations of the other seven stages will be announced in London this evening.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.