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Tour of Britain - 2.3

Great Britain, September 1-5, 2004

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Stage 1 - September 1: Manchester - Manchester., 207km

By Shane Stokes

The 2004 Tour of Britain gets under way with a tough stage through the Pennines. The riders are in the thick of things almost immediately after the start at SportCity in Manchester, with the first category climb of Ramsbottom Rake coming just 12 kilometres after the drop of the flag. Shortly afterwards another first cat climb awaits, the peculiarly-named Nick of Pendle (45.5 km), giving ample springboard for those feeling frisky this early in the day.

Three hot spot sprints follow at Inskip (89.7 km), Blackpool (119 km) and Preston (149.2 km) and with time bonuses and sprint points on offer, these will be keenly disputed. The third category climb of Belmont (173.5 km) follows inside the final hour of racing, with the riders hurtling onto the streets of Manchester and fighting it out for the first stage win of the race.

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