10 things you (probably) didn’t know about The Tour of Britain

The start of the 2013 Tour of Britain took place at a wet and windy Peebles. This year it will pass through the Borders.
The start of the 2013 Tour of Britain took place at a wet and windy Peebles. This year it will pass through the Borders.

This year’s Tour of Britain starts on Sunday, September 6, and finishes eight days later in London - having passed through Northumberland en route.

As the country prepares for the spectacle, which will pass through the county on Wednesday, we have created a list of ten things you may - or may not - know about the Tour of Britain.

1. The Tour of Britain has its origins in a dispute between cyclists during the Second World War.

2. The Northumberland stage, which is stage 4, will pass through the county from Edinburgh, ending in Blyth on Wednesday, September 9, and will be broadcast live on ITV4 from 1pm, with a highlights show at 8pm

3. The first bicycle race staged over several days in the UK, was the Southern Grand Prix in Kent in August 1944. It was won by Les Plume of Manchester.

4. The Tour’s predecessor was staged between Brighton and Glasgow or Brighton and Newcastle between 1945 and 1953.

5. This is the 76th Tour of Britain, and is 1,443.6km in total across the eight stages, which will be the longest tour to date

6. Stage 7, on Saturday, September 12, will be the longest of the eight stages. The stage, which runs from Fakenham to Ipswich, sees the tour return to East Anglia for the penultimate, and longest leg of the race, at 227.4km.

7. From 1960-1993 the Tour of Britain was known as The Milk Race. The Milk Marketing Board originally agreed to pay for ‘Drink more milk’ to be embroidered on the riders’ jerseys.

8. Minimum bike weights allowed in the race are around 15lbs or 7kg. Bikes from London’s Bike Hire Scheme weigh about 50lbs, or 23kg.

9. Sir Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish are set to compete in this year’s Tour of Britain

10. 6.8kg is the minimum weight of a bike for the race, introduced by the UCI in 2000 to guarantee that bikes are robust and safe enough to withstand the rigours of the race.

We will have coverage of the Tour of Britain as it passes through Northumberland, live on Wednesday.