Tour of Britain chief executive Hugh Roberts has hailed this year’s race the best in its eight-year history.

Speaking to Cycling Weekly in London on Sunday afternoon, Roberts said that the event had reached new heights this time around.

“We have a process of building on previous years and I think we’ll look back and say 2011 was our best ever,” said Roberts.

“I know we probably say that every year, but we always try to do the best for the fans and we had one of strongest fields to race on British soil for a number of years.

“Also, the feedback we’ve had from everyone on the race has told us that the crowds have been absolutely enormous. From Cheddar Gorge to Sandringham, they’ve come out in their numbers.”

Moretonhampstead, Tour of Britain 2011, stage five



Cities, towns and villages welcomed the race with open arms

Planning for next year’s race is well underway, and Roberts confirmed that the race will once again be eight days long.

“We’ve got all the stages lined up for next year. Each year we try to mix it up a little bit, for example this year we’ve varied from flat to arduous courses.”

Encouragingly, the popularity of the race means that race organiser SweetSpot has received offers from several new towns and cities who are keen to bring the Tour to their areas.

“There are far more places that want to host the race than we’ve ever had before which is good but we don’t want to be disloyal to those who have supported us over the years.

“I like the idea of starting somewhere fairly remote – outside a castle or beautiful gardens – so we can bring the race to life, and then finish in a big town or city where we can pack the crowds in as well.”

Lars Boom podium, Tour of Britain 2011, stage seven



Lars Boom in the IG Markets-sponsored gold jersey

2011 was also the first year in which all the jerseys on offer were sponsored; IG Markets backed the leader’s gold jersey while Yodel, Prostate Cancer Charity and Skoda came onboard with the sprints, points and mountains classifications respectively.

“The introduction of new sponsors is part of our plans for expansion,” said Roberts.

“We have had opportunities in the past to have a title sponsor, but we resisted this because we don’t want the race dominated by a company who wants us to go past their factories or headquarters, for example. I don’t think that’s right for the race nor for the fans.”

Roberts also admitted that the race is moving away from handing out long-term contracts with Regional Development Agencies and councils as they had done to establish the event in 2004.

“I think we’re at a point where we can shift from a more regional stakeholder model to more conventional model where companies and brands sponsor the race. We’re moving in the right direction, and it’s a gradual process. We didn’t plan to do this overnight and never will.”

Tour of Britain 2011: Latest news



Renshaw thanks Cavendish after Exmouth excellence



House ready to attack again despite unsuccessful breakaway attempt



Team Sky fails to capitalise on numerical advantage in Stoke



Tour of Britain stage two cancelled due to adverse weather



Gale force winds set to batter Tour of Britain bunch on Monday



Cycling stars ready for Tour of Britain



Raleigh aim for top ten in Tour of Britain



Cavendish confirmed for Tour of Britain



Sky announces Tour of Britain team



Hushovd to ride Tour of Britain



Tour of Britain returns to central London for 2011 finale



Scotland getting ready for 2011 Tour of Britain start



Leopard-Trek sign up for 2011 Tour of Britain



Final day time trial for 2011 Tour of Britain



IG Markets sponsor Tour of Britain leader’s jersey



Tour of Britain set for Scotland start

Tour of Britain 2011: Stage reports



Stage 8b: Booms wins overall as Cavendish takes final stage



Stage 8a: Dowsett takes time trial in London



Stage seven: Bagdonas wins from break



Stage six: Booms wins in Wells to strengthen overall lead


Stage five: Renshaw and Cavendish score HTC one-two




Stage four: Hushovd takes stage in Caerphilly



Stage three: Boom wins stage in Stoke to take lead



Stage two: Stage cancelled, riders parade in Kendal



Stage one: Cavendish wins opening stage of Tour of Britain

Tour of Britain 2011: Photo galleries

By Andy Jones

Stage seven photo gallery

Stage six photo gallery

Stage five photo gallery

Stage four photo gallery

Stage three photo gallery

Stage two photo gallery

Stage one photo gallery

Tour of Britain 2011: Press conference photo gallery

Tour of Britain 2011: Riders warm up photo gallery

 

  • Mark Jones

    Hopefully one day we will have a race to equal the Kellogg’s Tour with the race able to dictate where they go rather than it being dictated by who which councils will sponsor the race, Cav must have been a huge bonus and if he is to ride the race from now on then hopefully the organisers will be able to be more choosy as to where the race goes and avoid those ridiculous transfers. The race can be improved with better finishing straights, some tougher finishes (last year’s race was better in parts) and it would be nice to see the race go over some really tough hills like the Kellogg’s used to. Hopefully British success will continue and more and more areas will want to host a stage, but we are very lucky to have a national tour when we see how the Tour of Ireland has gone.

  • Andrew Hope

    I’m glad it was a great succes :) I went to watch stage 6 and had a great time with my son. Maybe ITV 4 could broadcast the Tour next year LIVE, that would be great.