Crowds turn out for Tour of Britain launch in Manchester

Riders take the first climb of the day, Grains Bar, a Category two climb on the opening stage of the Tour of Britain cycle race in OldhamGetty Images

Huge crowds have turned out for the start of the annual Tour of Britain.

Competitors started the first 164km (102 miles) stage in Altrincham before cycling around Greater Manchester.

Dutch rider Olav Kooij was the first to reach the Deansgate finish after they endured punishing climbs in Ramsbottom.

Before the race, Spanish cyclist Gonzalo Serrano received the trophy for winning last year’s event, which was cut short after the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

Spanish cyclist Gonzalo Serrano receives the trophy

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British rider Tom Pidcock chats with a group of GB under-16 riders

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Since the opening of the National Cycling Centre in 1994, Manchester has been the centre of the county’s dominance in the sport.

Record-breaking champions including Sirs Chris Hoy, Bradley Wiggins, Jason Kenny and Dame Laura Kenny have all trained at the velodrome.

The pack make their way up Edenfield Road

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Dutch rider Olav Kooij (C) celebrates as he crosses the line to win at the finish of the opening stage of the Tour of Britain cycle race

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The national centre reopened this weekend after two years of repairs and is part of the city’s bid to become Europe’s inaugural capital of cycling in 2024.

Officials hope it will lead to more cycling funds, as they plan for bicycles to become the default mode for short journeys by 2038 – as part of a net-zero target for carbon emissions.

a line of police officers on motorbikes

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