THE Isle of Wight will host the Tour of Britain cycling event, it has been confirmed in Ryde today (Saturday).

A launch event - that also saw a team setting off on a fundraising cycle over 6000 km -  has been taking place with event supporter, former Wham! star Andrew Ridgeley.

Andrew, who has himself cycled on the Isle of Wight, was on hand to wave off the inaugural The Grand Tour fundraising event.

He told the Isle of Wight County Press: “I've ridden the Isle of Wight a couple of times - usually in rather nicer weather than this. A couple of years ago I had a weekend with a couple of friends. The Military Road had just been resurfaced.

"The Grand Tour is a fundraising initiative. It’s establishment of an annual event - you don’t have to do the full thing. It’s establishing a legacy for a circumnavigation for Britain itself and it’ll raise money for good causes.” 

Click HERE for its Just Giving page.

Isle of Wight County Press:

Tour of Britain organiser Hugh Roberts (managing director of SweetSpot) said: "The Tour Of Britain will be on the Isle of Wight probably in the second weekend of September - the grand finale of the entire race. We're staring in Aberdeen and finishing here. The whole world is going to be seeing the Isle of Wight. 

"We are working to turn the Isle of Wight into a cycling mecca - a cycling centric Island. The infrastructure's here. The roads don't get as much traffic. It makes it the perfect place. It's a golden opportunity for the Island." 

Isle of Wight County Press:

From today, meanwhile, the first ever The Grand Tour fundraisers will ride 6,700 kilometres over 64 days, between when the Women’s Tour and Tour of Britain should have taken place (but can't, because of coronavirus). They will finish in Ryde on Saturday September 5.

The Tour of Britain will return in 2021, but on its usual route.

Then, in 2022, it will come to the Isle of Wight.

In December, the Isle of Wight County Press reported that the Tour of Britain on the Isle of Wight was possible - and that proposals had been put before the Isle of Wight Council for 2021. 

Read more: Isle of Wight could host Tour of Britain cycle finale spectacular

It is not the first big cycling event hosted by the (very hilly) Isle of Wight.

In 2015, the Pearl Izumi race took on Union Street in Ryde.

Meanwhile, thousands take on the annual amateur Randonnee - a 64 mile route around the Island over a single day.

Read more: Isle of Wight Randonnee numbers up by ten per cent — with 3,500 cyclists taking part