Wolverhampton has been named as the starting city for the fourth stage of the 2006 Tour of Britain.

The coup follows a joint campaign by Birmingham Midshires and the Wolverhampton council to host the national cycling event.

The original aim was to gain the race for 2007, however, Birmingham Midshires and Wolverhampton City Council worked with the Tour of Britain organisers to consider the city for 2006's race which begins in Glasgow on August 29.

Up to 100 cyclists will compete in each 100 mile stage in the race which will finish in London on September 3. The West Midlands stage will take place on Friday September 1, starting in Wolverhampton, with a detailed race route to be announced on May 30.

Nigel Stockton, managing director, Birmingham Midshires, said: "We are passionate about Wolverhampton.

"The Tour of Britain, as a major national event, will really help to put our city on the map.

"This has been a great example of the private and public sector working together for the good of the city."

Meanwhile, Midshires, which employs 1,500 people in Wolverhampton, has also linked up with the council in a schools initiative to encourage more children and young adults to learn about cycle safety.

Midshires, which is part of the HBOS group, will sponsor cycling proficiency courses in local schools and further summer schools reaching over 2,000 children and young adults in the Wolverhampton area.

Wolverhampton City Council deputy leader, Coun Peter Bilson, said: "There has been great teamwork between Wolverhampton City Council and Birmingham Midshires to bring the Tour of Britain to Wolverhampton.

"Our city has both a proud cycling heritage - including the successes of multiple World Champion and Commonwealth Gold medallist Hugh Porter, MBE - and current enthusiastic exponents of the sport. It is fitting that our city with its strong cycling tradition should host the start of the West Midlands of this prestigious event", he added.

Hugh Roberts, chief executive, Tour of Britain, said: "Birmingham Midshires and Wolverhampton City Council put together a compelling argument to bring the race to the city. Their passion was infectious and the work going on already behind the scenes, will I'm sure, make the race a great success. We look forward to meeting the Wolver-hampton fans on September 1."