Your guide to the UK’S big­gest race

Race di­rec­tor Mick Ben­nett re­calls five un­for­get­table stages that shaped the mod­ern Tour of Bri­tain

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2012 Stage 8, 147.8km Reigate > guild­ford

1 2012 was Bri­tish cy­cling’s mar­quee year, with a maiden Tour de France vic­tory, a dom­i­nant Olympics and the world cham­pion in Mark Cavendish. In his fi­nal race in the rain­bow stripes, Cavendish charged up the cob­bled sheets of the Sur­rey town’s high street, to win his third stage that week. “I have a pic­ture of that mo­ment on my wall,” race di­rec­tor Mick Ben­nett re­veals. “It’s a back­shot of Cav com­ing up the cob­bled ridge, with no other rid­ers in view, wear­ing his rain­bow jersey. Com­ing up a cob­bled climb — he did well to win that stage — and with that many peo­ple there, it looks like the Tour of Flan­ders was brought to Guild­ford.” What they said... Bren­dan Gal­lagher, writ­ing for the Tele­graph, said that Cavendish “marked the end of his reign in style with a par­tic­u­larly gutsy ef­fort to claim his best win of a tough week.” The man him­self re­flected: “It wasn’t an easy fin­ish. It wasn’t just the last stage; it was the last race for me in the rain­bow jersey. The team were in­cred­i­ble.”

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