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Aberdeenshire leg of Tour of Britain international cycling spectacle is postponed as Covid-19 wipes out entire event

By Craig Christie

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BRITISH Cycling's premier road cycling event has been postponed, including the final stages through Aberdeenshire.

The Tour of Britain was first staged in Aberdeenshire in 2017 but has been postponed this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Tour of Britain was first staged in Aberdeenshire in 2017 but has been postponed this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The prestigious Tour of Britain was set to finish in Aberdeen city centre on Sunday September 13, taking many of the world's top riders and teams from the start of the route in Stonehaven.

However the Covid-19 pandemic, which has resulted in many major sporting events in 2020 being cancelled, has led to the entire cycle tour being called off and switched to next year.

Sports fans in the region will be disappointed, as a thrilling finale to the competition - which attracts 100 riders from 20 top international teams - was being eagerly anticipated.

The free-to-watch sporting spectacular features Olympic, world and Tour de France champions, and attracts a roadside audience of over 1.5m spectators. Live coverage of the race is shown daily in the UK on ITV4 and Eurosport, in addition to around the world.

Dutch sensation Mathieu van der Poel won last year's tour and his successor was set to be crowned in the Granite City after a day of racing through the Aberdeenshire countryside.

The start line was set for Stonehaven with organisers also confirming that the stage would feature the famous Cairn o’Mount climb, a notorious 3km ascent with an average gradient of 10%.

Plans were already in place to stage the event for a second consecutive year in Aberdeenshire next year, and cycle enthusiasts will now have to wait for their chance to see the world's best racing by.

Leader of Aberdeenshire Council Cllr Jim Gifford said: “Of course it is disappointing to hear of the postponement of the Tour of Britain.

"However it feels like the correct decision has been taken in the current circumstances. The team involved in bringing this stage to Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire have been working hard in the background throughout this pandemic to look at the various options and can now begin to focus their efforts on next year.

“I know the communities of Aberdeenshire will be looking forward to the rescheduled date and the global audience will have the chance to see how truly spectacular Aberdeenshire is in 2021.”

Aberdeen City Council Co-Leader Councillor Jenny Laing said: “We appreciate the cancellation of the Tour of Britain will be a disappointment to many but we must be mindful of the ongoing COVID-19 situation and I’m sure people will regard the decision taken by organisers as the correct one.

“Through our Aberdeen 365 Events Programme and City Centre Masterplan Aberdeen City Council is committed to making Aberdeen a vibrant place to live, work and visit. We will continue to work with partners and stakeholders to ensure that when the event comes to the region in 2021, we are even better placed to celebrate what Aberdeen has to offer to visitors.

"I also anticipate that attracting footfall throughout the city centre will be key to supporting our economic recovery and 2021 will be an important part of our plans to emerge from this pandemic in as strong a position as possible.”

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