Britain’s biggest professional cycling race will be coming to Warwickshire for the very first time.

Racers from around the globe will descend on the county as it hosts the fourth stage of the 2018 OVO Energy Tour of Britain.

It will officially start in Nuneaton town centre, make its way around Warwickshire and end in Royal Leamington Spa, going through all five Warwickshire districts and borough’s.

The event is set to go ahead on Wednesday, September 5 and organisers are hoping for record crowds when the event comes to the region.

Leader of Warwickshire County Council, Cllr Izzi Seccombe, said: “This is a massive coup for Nuneaton and the whole of Warwickshire to be hosting a stage of the OVO Energy Tour of Britain and it is very exciting news.

“Once again an event like this shines a global spotlight on Nuneaton and the all of the county, which is extremely positive for everyone.

“The county council and our partners have great ambitions for Nuneaton and this kind of international profile is an excellent kickstart for that programme of works.”

Warwickshire County Council has built up a relationship with Sweetspot, organisers of both the OVO Energy Tour of Britain and Women’s Tour, over the past three years.

They have successfully hosted the Warwickshire stage of the Women’s Tour, which led to the Tour of Britain coming to the county for 2018.

“We are delighted to be bringing the men’s OVO Energy Tour of Britain to Warwickshire for the first time in the history of the modern race,” said Race Director Mick Bennett.

“The support we receive in the county for the Women’s Tour is tremendous, and we know that the world’s top male riders can expect more of the same this September.”

The event will kick-off at 11am from Nuneaton town centre and finish in Royal Leamington Spa later in the afternoon.

In past events global cycling stars such as Alexander Kristoff and Michal Kwiatkowski, British heroes Mark Cavendish and Geraint Thomas or rising stars like Chris Lawless and Harry Tanfield, have competed in the OVO Energy Tour of Britain.

Competitors, will set off from Nuneaton and head towards Atherstone before taking in the North Warwickshire countryside and then arrive in Meriden.

It will then head to the University of Warwick, before passing Kenilworth and Warwick Castles. Heading south into Stratford upon Avon, competitors will also have to take on three SKODA King of the Mountain climbs again – an ascent of more than 1,700 metres.

The first of those will be at Ilmington, before the second at Edge Hill, just on the outskirts of Arlescote while the third comes in Burton Dassett Country Park.

It will then head through Moreton Morrell, Wellesbourne, Kineton, Tysoe and Shipston-on-Stour, Fenny Compton and Southam, and then towards Princethorpe in Rugby before finishing in the centre of Royal Leamington Spa.

Relaunched in 2004 after a five-year absence from the calendar, the OVO Energy Tour of Britain attracts the world’s top cyclists, including Olympic and World Champions and Tour de France stage winners, to compete on British roads each September, with daily live coverage on ITV4 and Eurosport in the UK, and around the world.

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