stage one Sunday September 2
Pembrey Country Park newport 174.8km
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.”