Liverpool to host Tour start

Liverpool has been chosen as the host city for the Grand Depart of the 2014 Tour of Britain in September.

Organisers SweetSpot will unveil the route for this year's race later on Monday but they have confirmed the 130km opening stage will take place on Merseyside on Sunday September 7.

The stage will comprise 10 laps of a 13-kilometre circuit, starting and finishing on The Strand with the likelihood of an exciting bunch sprint.

Liverpool previously hosted stage finishes in 2006, when Britain's Roger Hammond secured victory, and in 2008 when Italian sprinter Alessandro Petacchi was the winner.

This year's Tour of Britain has 'hors categorie' status in the UCI calendar for the first time, meaning the likelihood of a far stronger line-up which could include defending champion Sir Bradley Wiggins.

Race director Mick Bennett said: "We are delighted that this year's Tour of Britain can start with such a prestigious stage in the centre of Liverpool.

"The opening circuit will be perfectly suited to the sprinters, and whoever wins Stage One will pull on the first yellow jersey of 2014.

"With the support of Liverpool City Council we are looking forward to making this year's Grand Depart a memorable occasion for cycling fans."