CYCLING: Liverpool hosts Tour of Britain's final race stage.
THE next generation of British cycling stars are coming to Liverpool for the final stage of The Tour of Britain.
It all takes place on Sunday, September 14 and will feature at least four actionpacked races for age groups ranging from youth through to the elite level.
Racing, on a short but challenging course around Liverpool's famous Three Graces, is due to get underway at 10.30am with two youth races.
A regional B race for junior female riders and senior and junior male third and fourth categories will follow, before the morning is rounded out with a national A race for senior males, elite 1, 2 and 3, junior males and senior females in the elite and first and second categories.
Among those already entered are a strong junior squad who will be making the short trip across from the Isle of Man and Phil Thomas, British road race champion in 1983, who will be out in the regional B race.
The races will provide the ideal warm-up for stage eight of The Tour of Britain, which will arrive in the 2008 European Capital of Culture at around 1.50pm, before the peloton takes on a sixlaps circuit of Liverpool city centre.
Tour of Britain technical director Mick Bennett said: "It's important to keep up the link between the elite level and the grass roots of the sport, and by having these races support the Tour of Britain we are clearly showing that one day these young riders could be riding the main race as a professional.
"I'm sure there will be some fantastic action in all three of the races, so I'm encouraging people to get along early and give tomorrow's stars the support they deserve today."
Organiser of the races, Tom Greep, said: "With Liverpool hosting the final stage of this year's Tour of Britain, it was a perfect chance for the Merseyside Cycling Development Group (MCDG) to encourage cycling within the area.
"So when The Liverpool Culture Company approached us earlier this year to ask whether we would be interested in promoting some races we jumped at the chance to do it.
"What a memorable weekend it will be for them and hopefully for many others."
The races are being promoted and organised by the Merseyside Cycling Development Group (MCDG), with sponsorship from The Liverpool Culture Company ITV4 will broadcast a nightly highlights programme between 8pm and 9pm on each night of the Tour of Britain.