2004 Stage 1, 207km manchester > manchester
3 The modern Tour of Britain’s revival journeyed from an idea to an event in just four months to give Britain a first national tour in five years. The race started at Manchester City Football Club’s stadium, finishing in the city centre with a sprint won by Italian Stefano Zanini, despite complaining that there was too much congestion from public vehicles on the road.
“We had four months to deliver the race, and we were working on it seven days a week,” Bennett recalls. “At that time we had no central escort police and once we left a region we had to change forces, which is very different to the situation nowadays. I went grey in those four months and thank God it was only a five-day stage race!” What they said... Eurosport hailed the race on “its triumphant return”, saying: “A heavy dose of fans lined the roadsides, proving football-frenzied England can also muster strong support for cycling.”