At the beginning of September for the last few years, I have set aside some time to go to stages of the Tour Of Britain cycle race. This year was no different.

This year’s tour began in Scotland again, though this time starting in Edinburgh, before heading south to Kelso. Over the week, the race would head south through England before heading west across the Cotswolds & into Cardiff, Wales for the finale.

There was more emphasis this year on flat stages aimed at the sprinters with a 10 mile time trial on Thursday to shake up the general classification.

The field of riders was arguably the strongest this year with sprinters warming their legs up for the world championships in a couple of weeks. Riders such as Geraint Thomas & Mark Cavendish were also making their racing returns in the race after accidents during Le Tour De France.

This year, I managed to attend 3 stages. The start in Edinburgh, the individual time trial in Clacton-On-Sea & the finish in Cardiff. Below is a selection of my images from those stages.

Excitement was high in Edinburgh ahead of stage 1 of the OVO Energy Tour Of Britain, with riders signing on in the shadow of St Giles Cathedral before making final preparations/interviews before the race. Taylor Phinney of Cannondale Drapac looked cool before stage 1 with a full face of facial hair this time around. (Remember that moustache last year?) He came unstuck though after crossing a level crossing while the lights were flashing, earning a disqualification under UCI rules.

As is the case during the Tour Of Britain each year, there was a Great Britain team, fielding promising young riders hoping to put their mark on the race.

Making those last minute checks before the start, checking the computers are switched on and ready to record those all important stats during the stage.

Edinburgh was the perfect setting to host the Grand Depart of the 2017 Tour Of Britain, with the cyclists setting off from the Royal Mile before completing a circuit of the city centre. They then headed east out of the city before riding south towards Kelso, the stage 1 finish.

The next stage I attended in the Tour was stage 5, the individual time trial in Clacton On Sea in Essex. Alexander Kristoff is pictured here warming up with his Katusha team before the time trial begins. Due to his consistent high places in stages 1-4, Kristoff was one of the last starters in the time trial.

Polish National time trial champion Michal Kwiatkowski of team sky refined his technique ahead of the 10 mile tt. He finished in the top 5 during the event, lifting him up in the GC & also giving him valuable time trial time before the world championships in a couple of weeks.

The final rider to begin was Elia Viviani of Team Sky, wearing the green skin suit of race leader. He started level in GC on time with Caleb Ewan of Orica Scott though due to better results in stages 1-4, he wore green & began 2 minutes later. Ewan time trialed using a road setup & was passed by Viviani, who made up the two minutes he started behind. Though even Viviani’s efforts weren’t enough to stop the next man from taking stage victory & the lead in the GC.

Though not on most peoples lists to win the time trial, 2011 Tour Of Britain winner Lars Boom of LottoNL Jumbo arrived in top form. He secured victory in stage 5 of the BinckBank Tour last month against the likes of Peter Sagan & Tom Dumoulin so was strong heading to Britain. Another stage 5 victory here too, taking the overall lead of the Tour & the green jersey. That said, his team put in a strong time trial performance with 3 riders in the top 10.

Lars Boom arrived at stage 8 still leader of the race having successfully defended in the previous couple of stages & the final test was the road to Cardiff in typically wet British weather. The nearest credible threat was Edvald Boasson Hagen of Team Dimension Data, who had proved he was in top sprinting form, meaning bonus seconds on intermediate sprints & on the line were even more important. Heading into Cardiff, the peloton split into two large groups, with a two man breakaway ahead, though the race favourites were in the main lead group.

After forming a solo breakaway with 3km to go, Boasson Hagen managed to hold on until the line & secure a well deserved stage victory & more importantly a 10 second time bonus to add to his GC hopes.

Eddy the Boss was clearly a happy man after the stage, but would the result of stage 2, & the loss of bonus seconds there after his demotion take away his hopes of a 3rd Tour Of Britain victory?

Geraint Thomas of Team Sky made a successful return from injury at the Tour Of Britain, securing the best British Rider title in front of his home crowd in Cardiff.

As Mark McNally of Wanty Groupe Gobert collected his trophy for sprints, some of it decided to fall apart as pictured!

A surprise guest in the form of Sir Bradley Wiggins took to the podium, representing Skoda to present the King of the Mountains jersey to Lukasz Owsian of CCC Sprandi Polkowice.

In the end, it was Lars Boom who held on to take his 2nd Tour of Britain victory from Edvald Boasson Hagen & Stefan Kung.

With two wins apiece now, will Boom & Boasson Hagen be back next year to duke it out for a third overall victory? Time will tell.

For the third year, the Greenwich Peninsula in London hosted a round of the Red Hook Criterium series. Again the round on the 22nd of July took place in the series after the Brooklyn round, with the same 950m circuit as 2016, just being cycled in the opposite direction this year.

The weather in London for the week leading up to London No.3 was dry & sunny, similar to what the previous two London events had enjoyed. However true British summertime weather was on the cards, arriving just in time for the first of the qualifying races shortly after midday.

With the constant rain (some wind too) & a slick track surface, all of the qualifying races began with some slower exploration laps in order for the riders to explore their limits.


The initial open warm up session was probably one of the best of the day weather wise, with the rain only really picking up towards the end of the session.


The Specialized Rocket Esspresso team had a large tent in which to relax/warm up under, away from the elements. Though it was quite often full of people escaping the rain too! Here's Eamon Lucas on the rollers preparing for his qualifying race.


If they didn't have a tent, lots of riders sheltered from the rain in vehicles/motorhomes etc, with bikes waiting in the warm up area until they were next required.


Ash Duban on the rollers before her race early in the evening, hoping to build on strong results of the past.


The 02 Arena & the ever changing landscape of the Greenwich Peninsula provided a fantastic backdrop for the racing. New sections of track were laid through building sites in order for the Red Hook Crit to go ahead. In future years, with developments in this area, the race could well have a real city centre crit feel.


Colin Strickland of Intelligentsia leads the way as another wet qualifying session draws to a close.


Checking out the stats on the cycle computer after a damp session on track.


Turn two, a 90 degree left hander leading onto the back straight (curve!) proved to be tricky for the riders, having to judge the balance between speed into the corner & acceleration out of the corner. Several people ended up in the hay bales during the course of the afternoon. In between sessions turns 1 & 2 had to be swept to help any standing water drain off & being a smaller risk to the athletes.


With no huge improvement in the weather conditions until late afternoon, focus was the name of the game for the riders. Large numbers ended up being lapped during the qualifying sessions, so having your eye on the ball was key.



Everyone who completed the Women's qualifying sessions automatically advanced to the evening race, due to the size of the field. These races just determined positions of the riders on the grid for the main race.


As a result of the poor weather conditions, the afternoon's Superpole sessions were called off, leaving a bit more time to prepare after the last chance race had finished.


After round 1 of the series in Brooklyn, Women's championship leader Eleonore Saraiva was in good spirits heading into London, backing that up with a strong performance in qualifying.


After her strong win in London last year, Olympic Gold medalist Dani King was now the rider everyone would be watching in order to prevent her lapping the field again.



Despite many attempts at a breakaway during the race, Dani King was unable to replicate her performance of 2016, with the field following her every move. She ended up finishing a more than respectable 5th place behind race winner Raphaele Lemieux, Eleonore Saraiva, Jasmine Dotti & Colleen Gulick.



The last race of the evening was the Men's crit on a circuit that was beginning to dry off, though there were still some damp patches around the course with multiple surfaces.


As the light faded, the racing around the 950m circuit ramped up, stringing the field out. This was until a red flag brought the action to a halt. Eamon Lucas hitting the deck on turn two, cutting his face. Though you cant keep a good man down, he continued racing after the restart & went on to claim the Rockstar Games top Antagonist award.


After picking up a puncture early on, local boy Alec Briggs of Specialized Rocket Espresso picked up team mate Stefan Schafer's bike and continued in pursuit, the red flag allowing him to bridge the gap.
After some hard & fast racing, he managed to pip Colin Strickland to 3rd place behind the winner Filippo Fortin & Davide Vigano.


As the post race podium celebrations began, so too did the rain (again!!) but far too late to dampen anyone's spirits. Alec Briggs pictured here wasting no time in popping open the champagne as the top three Women & Men shared the podium.

So another Red Hook Crit in London is in the books & despite the weather, the most successful in the city too. The crowds were out in force around the circuit (more than the previous two editions) ringing the bells & cheering the riders on.
The series moves on to Barcelona for round 3 on September the 2nd, but here's hoping London No.4 will be on the cards for 2018.

If Penny Farthings, bow ties & top hats are your cup of tea, then read on.

To begin the two day weekend of Seaton Cycle Fest in East Devon for 2017. The team at Velo Vintage, organised a cycle ride around Seaton & the surrounding area for those in period dress. 

The sun was shining & hundreds of people turned out for the cycle, with plenty of opportunities along the way for a cup of tea & to soak up the rays. 

Below is a selection of images I took at the event.


The riders gathered at Seaton Jurassic before the grand depart at 10:30am. They then rode down to the sea front before heading north through town & onto their next stop at the White Hart in Colyford. 


Following their stop in Colyford, the group then headed south again to the Seaton Wetlands where they made another stop for some tea & cake at the discovery hut.


Following the break at the Wetlands, it was now time to head back into town for the vintage fayre organised for the afternoon.

The turnout for the ride & weather were both great, bringing a wonderful first day to the Seaton Cycle Fest weekend.

After making an appearance for the first time mid June last year. The Seaton Cycle Fest in East Devon returned for it’s second outing with things to see & do in town throughout the weekend.

Those who remember the event last year, will recall the weather, which was rather wet, there’s the great British Summertime for you!

Fortunately this year we were all treated to the opposite, with warm sunshine & blue skies across the Saturday & Sunday. 

Saturday involved cycling from yesteryear with an event organised by the ‘Velo Vintage’ team. The vintage cycle around town was followed by a vintage fayre in the afternoon. Images from this event will feature in the next post, later in the week.

As was the case in 2016, Sunday featured criterium races on a circuit in the town centre closed to traffic. The same circuit as last year, the races began on the straight of Harbour Road before turning onto the Esplanade via Beach Road. This straight is then followed by the short but testing Castle Hill climb at a 7% gradient. The riders then turn right along Seafield road & then drop down the hill past the clock tower. The final stage of the circuit is followed by an exiting, fast sweeping left then right before beginning another lap.

Below is a selection of images taken across the Men’s & Women’s Crits.


The top of the ascent of Castle hill provided a wonderful backdrop of the town & the Jurassic Coastline while the riders made their way along the esplanade & up the hill.

 

Not many Crit circuits have sea views like this, probably not something in riders minds as the climbed Castle Hill though! Though some did cool off in the sea after the races were over.


Following the climb, there was two short straights, allowing the riders to catch a breath before dropping down the hill back into town.

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The final section of the circuit at the bottom of the hill, the fast sweeping left-right, was a great spot to watch the action unfold & to witness the speed & intensity of the racing. 


The event built on the strong foundations set last year, with great racing, a great turnout & great weather too. Hopefully organisers will continue to build on the success of the event in years to come & help put in on the map as one of the top cycling events in the South West.

More images from the event can be found on my Facebook page @ Alex Moorehead Photography. Also on Instagram @atmoorehead

Below are a selection of images I took over the week.

George Square in Glasgow was packed on the Sunday morning of the Grand Depart as the riders signed on at the stage.

Team Wiggins were the first to arrive, giving everyone plenty pf time to get a glimpse of the machines the team would be riding. 

As the team won the Tour of Britain last year with Edvald Boasson Hagen (as MTN Qubekha) Mark Cavendish was give the number 1 for the race.

Andre Greipel of Lotto Soudal was looking for more stage wins after last years strong performances. He went on to win stage 1 in a sprint finish in Castle Douglas.

Crowds had plenty in the lungs when Sir Bradley Wiggins arrived in Glasgow. The start of his las professional stage road race in his career.

Etixx Quickstep were in this year’s Tour of Britain with the aim being to ride for Dan Martin in the general classification. Julien Vermote managed to hold the yellow jersey for three days.

Fresh off of his Olympic omnium success in Rio, Elia Viviani was back in Team Sky colours & aiming for a similar number of stage victories as in 2015.

Jon Dibben of Team Wiggins looked cool, calm & collected as he rode to the sign on stage in Glasgow.

Taylor Phinney of BMC was a popular rider amongst the fans, sporting the tasche that made him easily recognisable in the peloton.

 

Before the racing got underway at Kilometre zero, the riders completed a neutralised lap around the city centre.

Stage 5 in Bath & the breakaway group who had been away all day, were being relentlessly chased by the peloton. The photo above was taken on the final short climb with 250m to go. Jack Bauer (in green) of Cannondale Drapac snatched the victory by just 10m of the chasing group.

The high pace heading into Bath split the peloton up into smaller groups who were presented with a short climb just before the finish straight.

Wind & rain greeted the riders at the start of stage 6 in Sidmouth, adding an extra ingredient to the day’s action.

Due to the weather, most of the teams signed on fairly late in Sidmouth, wanting to keep warm in the team buses & on the turbo trainers.

Steve Cummings of Dimension Data was 2nd to Julien Vermote heading into stage 6, though he would take the lead & with it the yellow jersey up on Haytor.

Tom Dumoulin looked optomistic for the stage ahead, which looked good for him followed by a time trial the following day.

Dan Martin, another pre stage fav for the win appeared on stage with minutes to go before the riders rolled out of Sidmouth.

Councillor Stuart Hughes waved the Devon flag to mark the beginning of the day’s action.

With about 23 to go before the summit finsh at Haytor, the riders arrived at the stages peniltimate KOM climb out of Dunchideock, this proved a test for the field, which was split into smaller groups while the breakaway group lost ground.

Before the beginning of the stage 7a Time Trial in Bristol, most of the riders lapped the circuit to fine tune & prepare for their effort later on. Wet weather added something else for riders to think about.

Sir Bradley Wiggins opted for a road bike setup as opposed to the usual tt bike you would usually see him adapt for a stage like this.


He time trial ran in reverse order which meant that Steve Cummings was last to set a time. He eventually came home in a strong 4th, just 16 seconds down on Tony Martin (above middle) who won the time trial.

Stage 7b later on Saturday in Bristol saw riders ride 6 laps of the course used in the mornings time trial. The peloton are pictured climbing Bridge Valley Road on lap 1 after a breakaway of 4 riders including Andre Greipel made an escape.

The iconic Clifton Suspension bridge provided a great backdrop (and circuit) for the day’s 2 stages in Bristol.


As the peloton picked up pace in the closing stages of the race, they closed down the gap to the breakaway.

The peloton heads towards Bridge Valley Road for the final time. Rohan Dennis of BMC made a break for it at the top & took the stage win, moving him up to 2nd in the GC, above Tom Dumoulin.


Further back, riders who werent realistically in with a chance of a stage win, or who had played their part, rolled into the finish together. 


Before the final stage, Ed Clancy (not competing in this year’s tour) took the opportunity to tide the Central London course before he went off to carry out media duties.

There were some iconic London sights for the peloton to ride through on stage 8, including Piccadilly Circus by the start/finish.


Taylor Phinney is pictured here in the day’s breakaway that were reeled in before the 16 laps were up.

There wasnt any pressure on Brad to perform throughout the race, so he rode in the peloton on near the back, soaking up all of the roadside support.

It was Caleb Ewan of Orica BikeExchange who gave a late injection of pace to take stage victory on the streets of London.


After two 2nd places in previous years, Steve Cummings could finally claim 1st place as his own in 2016 after finishing the stage safely in the Peloton. He looked strong throughout the Tour, with the stage 2 breakway a key moment.

The now annual Ridelondon festival was in town this past weekend with more activities also on Friday at the Lee Valley Velopark. 

Undoubtedley the highlights are the Freecycle, cycling for all across closed roads in central London on Saturday. The RideLondon Classique women’s elite race (more on that in a bit) The Brompton world Championships following the Classique. The London-Surrey 100 sportive on Sunday (now with the 46 mile sportive from 2016) The main event on the Sunday is the RideLondon-Surrey Classic, the elite Mens cycle race that follows many of the same roads as the Olympic Road Races in 2012. Three time Tour De France winner Chriss Froome one of the entrants this year before he heads off to Rio for the Olympics.

I was in London on the Saturday afternoon so decided to head over to watch (& photograph) the Classique. Women’s cycling has featured in the RideLondon weekend over the last few years on a circuit that starts on the Mall before circling St James Park via Birdcage Walk & Horseguards. This year’s event is part of the UCI women’s worldtour & is the highest paid women’s one day event, bringing womens cycling further into line with the Men. This year there are some notable absences from the field, due to the Rio Olympics being just a week away, meaning riders such as British World Champion Lizzie Armitstead are training ready to pursue gold. 

I caught some of the FreeCycle action before checking out the Classique circuit to check out the best vantage points. The Freecycle finished at 4pm, ready for the Classique to begin at 5pm. I took up a spot on the boards a few metres away from the start line in order to catch the riders as they lined up and began the neutralised lap. Following from the start I headed around the course in an anti-clockwise direction, stopping at various spots for photos before finishing up on Whitehall.

Below are a selection of images taken at the Classique.

The riders make their way down to the start line from the sign on podium 10 minutes before the start of the race.

National road champion Hannah Barnes & her sister Alice line up alongside each other before the race.

The Wiggle High five team were ready for the start as race director Mick Bennett prepared for the neutralized lap.

 

The peloton used the neutral lap to familiarise themselves with the technical circuit which included a couple of hairpin bends & also some narrow sections. 

Straight away when the flag dropped a group of riders formed a breakaway group as the peloton headed up & then back down Constitution Hill.

With a fairly high pace in the peloton some riders were subsequently dropped off the back and forced to make allainces to try and keep up the pace.

Like the Champs Elysees is for the final stage of the Tour De France & also La Course, The Mall provides a fantastic setting for the start & finish of the action.


As the laps counted down, the peloton upped the pace in order to catch the breakaway riders before the finish.

Dani King of the Wiggle High 5 team is pictured here in the final few laps setting a high pace along Whitehall. Kirsten Wild of the Hitec team went on to win the race & the highest prize in Women’s one day cycling in a sprint finish on the Mall.

More images from the event over at my Facebook page @ Alex Moorehead Photography.

The Greenwich Peninsula played host again to the Red Hook Criterium as it returned to London for the 2nd year running. 

After last year’ssuccessful crit, public interest was higher as it returned to a new 950m course in the area sitting in the shadow of the 02 Arena. Public & press turnout was visibly higher 2nd time around, generating a great buzz during the Qualifying & races. 

Riders from across the world were in London to compete in the Womens & Mens events, with plent of British riders there too, amongst them notably Olympic Gold Medalist & former world champion Dani King. 

Below is a selection of images I took on the day.

      

    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
 

The atmosphere & noise was fantastic, especially during the races. The Red Hook Crit now heads off to Barcelona & Milan for the final two rounds of the year. Hopefully there will be a London No 3 on next years scedule.