The north-east has bagged the finale of a grand sporting spectacle – promising a money-spinning bonanza for the region.
For not only is the Tour of Britain cycling extravaganza heading to Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire next year – but the race will be decided here, as thousands line the streets and millions more watch around the world.
In the contest, the planet’s top cyclists tackle eight courses – known as stages – in different regions and this year’s tour went from north to south.
However, the 2020 version will be roles reversed, starting in Cornwall on September 6 before coming to a nail-biting conclusion in the north-east on September 13.
This year, 1.4 million people watched the tour in person across eight stages, meaning a repetition next year could see 175,000 cycling fans flock to the north-east, bringing a welcome boost for hoteliers and other traders.
TV coverage was made available in every country worldwide, with ITV4 and Eurosport covering the event in the UK.
Full details of the route are still under wraps, but it is understood the Granite City streets will feature and the rolling hills of Aberdeenshire will provide a backdrop to the lion’s share of the stage.
Tour of Britain race director Mick Bennett said the north-east was chosen after Aberdeen’s success in staging the Tour Series over the last three years.
He added: “It’s going to be a historic stage. The modern edition of the Tour has never been so far north before so I’d like to thank everybody who has made it possible. Roll on September!”
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British Cycling chief officer Julie Harrington said: “Over recent years the Tour has grown almost beyond recognition, benefiting from the huge surge in the popularity of cycling, and is now firmly recognised as a cornerstone of the British sporting calendar.”
Aberdeenshire Council leader Councillor Jim Gifford said: “This is a wonderful opportunity to showcase the stunning landscapes of our region to a global audience, attracting spectators both locally and from afar to enjoy world-class cycling and to support our economy through hotel stays or spending money in local shops and businesses.
“This will be a truly celebratory event that will put the region firmly on the map as a destination for world-class sporting events, tourism and business.”
VisitScotland events director Paul Bush said: “Events play a key role in our visitor economy and the addition of the Tour comes at an exciting time for the city and the region.”
Aberdeen City Council co-leader Jenny Laing said: “Securing the Tour of Britain is a sign of our ambition and determination as a council to bring the biggest, best and most vibrant events to Aberdeen and the north-east.”