Tour of Britain: Manchester to host 2023 opening stage of UK’s biggest cycling race

The Tour of Britain, one of the UK’s most prestigious cycling events, is coming back to Manchester for 2023 for the Grand Depart – here’s what we know about the race so far.

The UK’s biggest cycling race, The Tour of Britain, will return to Manchester in 2023.

Manchester, the home of the National Cycling Centre, has been selected for the starting stage of the event, the Grand Depart, on Sunday 3 September 2023. Aside from the race itself, there will also be an exciting programme of cycling-related activities and events in the run up to the big day. This will be Manchester’s third time hosting a stage in the race since 2004. The city last hosted in 2019 when it held the final stage of the race, when thousands of spectators gathered at the finish line on Deansgate to watch Dutch rider Mathieu van der Poel win.

Mick Bennett, Tour of Britain race director, said: “It’s great to return to Manchester following the huge successes of the race’s last visit there in 2019 and, of course, this year’s Tour Series Grand Final in the heart of the city. Manchester is both synonymous with British Cycling and the way it is leading the charge towards active transportation so we can’t wait to get the 2023 Tour of Britain underway in the city.”

Jonathan Day, Acting Cycling Delivery Director at British Cycling, added: “The Tour of Britain has long been a highlight of the cycling calendar and it is always a privilege to welcome it to Greater Manchester. With Manchester also being the home of British Cycling, it will provide a great opportunity for many of our Great Britain Cycling Team riders to showcase this fantastic sport to even more people, giving them the chance to see some of the world’s best riders on their doorstep. With activities taking place across the weekend, it’s the perfect opportunity to inspire more people to get on a bike and give cycling a go.”

Mathieu van der Poel crossing the finish line of the Tour of Britain 2019, on Deansgate in Manchester. Credit: SWpix.com

What is the Tour of Britain?

The Tour of Britain is an annual cycling race held over eight days, each day taking place in a different UK location. Last year, the final three stages of the race were cancelled due to the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

It is a race for professional cyclists, who compete in teams of six. There are 20 teams, with 120 riders in total. Some of the world’s best riders have competed in the race, including Tour de France winners, world champions and Olympians like Sir Bradley Wiggins, Chris Froome, Mark Cavendish, Geraint Thomas.

There are different sections to each stage race, such as an uphill climb where riders can compete for points to win the SKODA King of the Mountains jersey, and sprint sections.

As well as being a prestigious event for the world’s cycling elite, it is also a great opportunity for fans of the sport to get up close and personal with the riders. At the start of each stage, members of the public are invited to the team buses where they can get autographs and selfies with the riders, and check out all the bikes and equipment.

What do we know about Tour of Britain 2023?

Manchester is the only host city to have been announced so far, but it is confirmed that the eighth and final day will take place in Wales on Sunday 10 September 2023.

More information, including host cities for each stage and details about the opening weekend are due to be announced early 2023. A full list of competing riders will also be released in the week before the event.

All eight stages will be broadcast live on ITV4. You can also watch the cyclists complete the route in person. More information about the route will be announced at a later date, but the climbing sections of the race are usually popular as the cyclists tend to be slower during these parts, meaning you will be able to get a better look at the action.

Riders during stage 3 of the Tour of Britain on September 6, 2022 in Barnard Castle. Credit: Ian Forsyth/Getty Images

What does this mean for Manchester?

Cycling is an important sport in Manchester as the home of the National Cycling Centre.

Councillor John Hacking, Manchester City Council’s executive member for skills, employment and leisure, said: "Manchester is the home of British Cycling and our velodrome is internationally renowned as a gold medal factory. We hosted the final stage of the Tour of Britain back in 2019 and it’s great to welcome the event once again. Hosting the Grand Depart of the Tour of Britain 2023 is a real honour for us and celebrates Manchester as a premier cycling city.

"This year alone we have made significant investment into cycling facilities across the city, from the major refurbishment of the National Cycling Centre in east Manchester to the new Cycling Hub in Wythenshawe Park, we are committed to encouraging our residents to jump on their bikes.

"Active travel is a key element of our commitment to become a zero carbon city by 2038, and it’s events like the Tour of Britain that create a genuine buzz about cycling and inspire people to get their bike out and reconsider the car as their mode of transport."

More information about the race can be found on the Tour of Britain website.