Full details of the Devon stage of the 2021 Tour of Britain have been revealed with some of the world’s best cyclists facing a tough hilly ride across Dartmoor.
Stage Two of the 2021 Tour of Britain on Monday, September 6, will see riders tackle a 185-kilometre (115-mile) route between Sherford and Exeter, and will be 12th stage to have been hosted by Devon since 2008.
The typically hilly Devon stage will include 3,500 metres of climbing, will visit the South Hams for the first time since 2012, will see riders face the testing climbs of Dartmoor, before a finish on Queen Street in Exeter city centre.
The route, announced today (Monday, September 7), will see the peloton head out from Sherford – the new town being built on the outskirts of Plymouth – before heading through Modbury, Avonwick, Halwell, and Dartmouth.
They will travel down along the Slapton Line for the first on ŠKODA King of the Mountains climb on the coast at Strete at the end of a 2km climb from Blackpool Sands, before an intermediate sprint in Torcross as the route crosses the road along the narrow shingle bar that separates Slapton Ley from the sea.
Riders will then travel into Kingsbridge, for the second intermediate sprint, before heading through Ivybridge and to Tavistock, for the final intermediate sprint.
They then turn east and head across Dartmoor, with the second and third ŠKODA King of the Mountains climbs, with an 8.7km climb of Rundlestone above Tavistock, which has been used by the Tour of Britain twice before (2010 and 2012).
The final categorised climb will be between Postbridge and the famous Warren House Inn, one of the most famous locations on Dartmoor and at 434m (1,425ft) above sea level the highest inn in southern England, where the pub’s fire has famously been burning since 1845.
The peloton will then head through Moretonhampstead and down through Dunsford and Longdown. Upon reaching Exeter, they will held out towards Cowley, before turning back into the city centre and finishing on Queen Street.
Cllr Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet member with responsibility for cycling, said: “We’ve got a year to prepare for the Devon stage of the 2021 Tour of Britain so we want to make it the biggest and best ever and try to inspire even more people to take to two wheels.
“Next year’s stage should be a good challenge for the world’s best riders. It would be fantastic to see the likes of the Yates brothers racing on Devon’s roads once again and it will provide a very welcome boost for our local economy.
“We always try to make it a special occasion when The Tour of Britain comes to Devon and it’s great to hear that one of our local professional riders, Freddie Scheske, was inspired by watching one of the Devon Stages on Dartmoor a few years ago – hopefully next year he will have the opportunity to compete in The Tour of Britain.”
It will be the 11th year that Devon has featured in the Tour of Britain, with more than 1.7 million people having lined the routes in Devon to watch the stages, generating over £41 million in net economic impact for the local economy.
“We are delighted to be continuing our relationship with Devon County Council and being back here with the Tour of Britain in September 2021,” said Hugh Roberts, managing director of organisers SweetSpot.
“As always the Devon stage looks set to be an incredibly tough challenge. Coming the day after our first visit to Cornwall what better for cycling fans to look forward to than the opportunity to watch two days of tough racing in the beautiful south west of England.”
The Tour last visited Devon in 2018, when Australian Cameron Meyer won the stage from Cranbrook to Barnstaple, while the 2014 stage, which was the last time a stage finished in Exeter, saw Austrian Matthias Brandle claim victory.
British Cycling chief executive Julie Harrington said: “I know just how much teams, riders and spectators have missed the Tour of Britain this year, and so it is fitting that the second stage of the 2021 race will depart from Devon, which has welcomed the event so often and so warmly over recent years. I have no doubt that the route and the raucous reception will be more than worth the wait.”
Devon-based professional cyclists were Natasha Reddy (Bianchi Dama) and Freddie Scheske (Vitus Pro Cycling p/b Brother UK), who are both studying at Exeter University, were invited to an event on Exeter Quayside to launch the reveal of the stage route.
“It’s the biggest race in Britain and would be a dream come true to race in it,” said Freddie. “If I could ride the 2021 Tour of Britain it would be the biggest cycling achievement of my life, the run in goes past my university halls, so I know that road very well.
“It’s very inspirational and very motivational for me to keep training knowing that there will be a race here and I could be riding it.”
“I looked at the profile and thought not too bad, but it’s going to be absolutely savage and relentless. There’s no flat to recover or freewheel on, you’re either going up full gas or you’re trying to make up gaps on the descent, so you never get into a rhythm.”
Natasha added; “I know the route coming back into Exeter like the back of my hands. The route is my training roads and one of my favourite bits of Devon to ride, so I’ll definitely be riding round on the day trying to watch in as many places as I can!”
“From Tavistock back to Exeter it will be fast, it’s usually a tailwind across the moor but then there are some short, sharp climbs at Doccombe and Dunsford and they’re not to be overlooked.”
The 2021 Tour of Britain is due to take place between Sunday, September 5, and Sunday, September 13, 2021, starting from Penzance in Cornwall and finishing in the city of Aberdeen.
Full details of the 2021 Tour of Britain race route will be announced later in the year while detailed timings for the Devon stage will be announced in the spring of 2021.