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Last Updated: Monday, 4 September 2006, 17:04 GMT 18:04 UK
Tour 'to learn lessons for 2007'
By Julian Shea

Cyclists ride through Kent on the Tour of Britain
Bad weather added to riders' frustration on Saturday
Tour of Britain organisers say they will avoid a repeat of the problems which dogged this year's race when the 2007 Tour de France comes to Britain.

Race managers Sweetspot were criticised for their handling of the Tour, but say things will change before next summer.

"The Tour of Britain has rolling road closure but the Tour de France is twice the size so roads are totally shut," Sweetspot's Tony Doyle told BBC Sport.

"Things must change and we'll do all we can to ensure they do."

Over one million people turned out to watch the five-day event, which ended in central London on Sunday with a dramatic sprint finish won by world champion Tom Boonen ahead of British duo Roger Hammond and Mark Cavendish.

Overall we're very happy with how it went

Event director Tony Doyle

But the previous day Boonen was one of the leaders of a riders' go-slow in protest at the race organisers.

"Unfortunately an error was made in Saturday's stage," said Doyle.

"The cyclists were led down the wrong road and by the time they regrouped and retraced their tracks, they were delayed by about 20 minutes.

"The weather didn't help - it was grey and dismal so they all got cold. It didn't bode well.

"On Sunday there was a collision between two motorbikes, who were on the deviation route, which was off the race route.

"In no way were the riders in danger, but obviously it was very sad and something we are very sorry about."

This year's Tour of Britain was the third Sweetspot have organised and, despite some bad publicity, Doyle insisted it had been a success.

"Overall we're very happy with how it went," he said

"What a fantastic way for it to finish - big crowds in glorious sunshine, in the shadow of Buckingham Palace, and with the world number one winning."

Next year Sweetspot will be involved in organising the first two stages of the Tour de France, the world's biggest annual sporting event, and Doyle said he was sure it would be a success.

"It's a huge honour for London to host the first road stage of the 2007 Tour de France," he said.

"It's part of getting London ready for the build-up to the 2012 Olympics, to show that we can stage these events."

SEE ALSO
Crash prompts 2007 Tour concerns
04 Sep 06 |  Cycling
Pedersen pedals to Tour success
03 Sep 06 |  Cycling
Cavendish second on dramatic day
02 Sep 06 |  Cycling
Pozzato claims win in Sheffield
31 Aug 06 |  Cycling
Hammond claims stage two victory
30 Aug 06 |  Cycling
Two Britons make it on to podium
01 Sep 06 |  Cycling
Pedersen edges opening stage win
29 Aug 06 |  Cycling


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