Wout van Aert sprinted across the finish line at Aberdeen beach in first place securing his overall victory in the Tour of Britain.
The Belgium cyclist managed to find a final surge in energy as he sprinted across the finish line at Aberdeen beach to land first place.
Germany’s Andre Greipel was second, with fan favourite Mark Cavendish coming third.
The last leg of the tour began in Stonehaven at 10.30am, with the 120 riders taking on the dreaded Cairn O’Mount before heading to Banchory, Strachan and Westhill.
Among those to wave them off was Xander Graham, who was invited to be the Jumbo-Visma team’s guest of honour after impressing with his own pedal power in the Edinburgh leg on Saturday.
Thousands of people turned out along the way to cheer the riders on, with pipe music filling the air and encouraging banners being waved even at the top of Cairn O’Mount.
In Aberdeen, a family-friendly entertainment village kept the fun going throughout the day, adding to the atmosphere.
— AJ Bell Tour of Britain 🇬🇧 (@TourofBritain) September 12, 2021
The crowd was delighted to see the race culminate in the Granite City – where it will now start next year.
Van Aert, from Team Jumbo-Visma, praised the turn-out throughout the tour, which began in Cornwall on September 5.
He added: “It was really nice to see and really cool for me to explore the enthusiasm of British crowds. There were so many people on the side of the road – I really missed that in the last couple of years because of Covid.”
At the beach, the atmosphere was electric as fans waited for the riders to whiz over the finish line. Bikes littered the grassy banks as keen cyclists gathered to watch their heroes sprint to the end.
Event brought ‘positivity and colour’ to the region
Among them were a group from Scottish Adventure Cycling who had camped out at Cairn O’Mount to catch a glimpse of the pelotons as they tacked the incline.
Laughing, they described it as very “cold and windy” this morning. They then cycled to Aberdeen to watch as the competitors crossed the finish line.
Others were impressed with how well organised the event was and said the speed of the bikes was “unreal”.
Harry, Poppy and Archie Chalmers, who were at the event with their parents Louisa and John, were ecstatic that they managed to get Mark Cavendish’s signature at the finish line.
Harry said: “We went to Cairn O’Mount first to see them, and they were really fast going up the hill.”
Susan and Mark Cowley also watched the race with their two children Christina and William, who both said it was “very fun”.
Mrs Cowley described it as “thrilling” and explained that it was a nice event to celebrate after Covid.
Aberdeen City Council leader Jenny Laing said: “I think we have known for a while that if we put events on in the city, people will come out and support it. People were out in their thousands and they enjoyed the event.
“The event has brought people out. They want to have a bit of positivity and colour in the city and the Tour of Britain has delivered that for us.”
VisitAberdeenshire’s chief executive Chris Foy also hailed the huge impact the Tour of Britain will have on the region, describing it as a “great advert and opportunity.”