stage one Sun­day Septem­ber 2

Pem­brey Country Park new­port 174.8km

Cycling Weekly - - TOUR OF BRITAIN -

t he or­gan­is­ers can’t have known it at the time, but in a happy co­in­ci­dence the 2018 tour of bri­tain will set off from Wales just weeks af­ter the country’s new su­per­star, Geraint Thomas, won the tour de France. With the man him­self rac­ing, you can be sure that a na­tion buoyed by his hero­ics in July will be out in force.

Lay of the land

The tour of bri­tain heads out of pem­brey Country park as Car­marthen­shire hosts a stage of the na­tional race for the first time. The rolling par­cours are punc­tu­ated with three sep­a­rate climbs which will more than likely be mopped up by the break­away and de­cide the first holder of the black KOM jersey. The fi­nal run-in to new­port will prob­a­bly be a se­lect group rather than a mass bunch fin­ish.

What to expect

ev­ery­thing will hinge on bel­mont Hill — with an av­er­age gra­di­ent of nine per cent over 800 me­tres, it’s steep enough for the punchi­est rid­ers to get a gap but with 8km still to ride from the top, there’s also enough time for the chasers to catch them. a tense, tightly fought fi­nale looks in store, and one that could see the sprint­ers foiled in the race’s open­ing road stage for the first time in 12 years.

n Pro’s view Rich Han­d­ley, Madi­son-gen­e­sis

“There’s go­ing to be a big fight for that fi­nal climb and I can’t see a bunch sprint com­ing to­gether at the end. For the do­mes­tic guys stage one is al­ways im­por­tant for the jersey clas­si­fi­ca­tions. That means you’re go­ing to have five of the six guys in the uk teams want­ing to get in the break­away.”

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