A tough day of climbing awaits the riders on the first ever opening day summit-finish in Tour of Britain history. By the time the stage winner crosses the finish line at Glenshee Ski Centre, they will have climbed more than 2,500 metres. The ski centre located in the westerly edge of Aberdeenshire is the UK’s largest snowsports area of its kind.
This will provide a tougher test than the climb to the Great Orme in Llandudno, Wales at last year’s race when Van Aert claimed his third victory of the week. The Belgian won a three-way sprint between Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) and Mike Woods (Israel-PremierTech) and him.
However, the climb to Glenshee is longer (14.5 kilometres) and that should mean that the winner will be a solo rider, or one from a select group of finishers. The route to the finish will tackle part of the Cairnwell Pass, the highest public road in the UK. The pass is surrounded by rugged landscape, a fitting backdrop for the opening day’s action. Before they arrive at the base of the final climb, they will have already taken on three climbs. Two category three and one category two.
The Queen’s summer residence, Balmoral Castle, is very near to the finishing climb. Van Aert won’t be there, so climbers like Woods will have an excellent chance at an opening day stage win and being crowned as the first overall leader of the race.
TOUR OF BRITAIN 2022 STAGE ONE: EXPECTED TIMINGS
|Location||Kilometres to go||ETA 38kph||ETA 46kph|
|Bennachie Forest (Cat.3)||138||12:22||12:09|
|Lord’s Throat (Cat.3)||126||12:41||12:25|
|Glenshee Ski Centre||0||15:59||15:08|
WHERE TO WATCH
The finale on Glenshee Ski Centre should be spectacular. Although to be able to park on the final climb, you will need to book your place in advance via the official race website.
ONE TO WATCH
Mike Woods (Israel-PremierTech) impressed at last year’s Tour of Britain on the stages involving hilly finishes.
The Canadian rider is a climbing specialist and has picked up multiple big results in week long stage races in the mountains of Europe. Woods disappointingly crashed out of the Vuelta a España last week where he was hoping for a high overall finish.
His misfortune in Spain meant he will arrive at the Tour of Britain hungry for stage wins, and the opening day summit finish suits the 35-year-old former runner to perfection.