Here it is – the route for this year’s OVO Energy Tour of Britain!
The race, which takes place from September 7-14, will return to Manchester city centre for the first time in 15 years on a final stage which is sure to draw huge crowd’s to the city’s iconic Deansgate.
Kicking off in Glasgow’s spectacular George Square, this year’s tour will also take in stages in the Scottish Borders, the North East, the Wirral and Worcestershire.
Race director Mick Bennett described the route ‘a quintessentially British affair’.
He said: “This year’s race is a quintessentially British affair, combining the short and sharp climbs we’re famed for with finishes for the world’s best sprinters and hopefully a few surprises along the way.
“But more than ever this year’s OVO Energy Tour of Britain route has been designed with spectators in mind. From visiting three iconic cities and including uphill finishes that are guaranteed to create drama to using finishing circuits, this year’s race will play a big role in helping Britain become a great cycling nation.”
Here’s the full details of the stages:
Stage One – Glasgow to Kirkcudbright – 201.5km
The first stage, the longest of the entire tour, will see the riders set off from George Square and will complete a loop of Glasgow city centre before heading south through Renfrewshire, East Ayrshire and South Ayrshire before crossing into Dumfries & Galloway and the finish in Kirkcudbright.
Although the race hasn’t visited Kirkcudbright previously, it’s the 10th time that the Dumfries and Galloway region has hosted the race.
Stage Two – Kelso to Kelso – 166.5km
Kelso will host the start and finish of stage two and the riders will head on an anti-clockwise loop via Coldstream, Chirnside and Duns before heading, via the Scott’s View climb, to Melrose and on to the Eildon Hills before heading back to Kelso.
Caleb Ewan won the stage into Kelso on the first stage of the 2017 edition of the race.
Stage Three – Berwick-upon-Tweed to Newcastle-upon-Tyne – 182.2km
The riders will head into England (just!) for the start of the third stage, leaving Berwick-upon-Tweed and crossing the Grade I listed Berwick Bridge before away going along the Tweed Valley and then hitting the Northumberland Coast where they’ll pass the historic Bamburgh and Warkworth castles.
The peloton will then pass through Whitley Bay, Tynemouth, North Shields and Wallsend, before tackling the final kilometres along the banks of the River Tyne on the Quayside, before turning on to Grey Street for an uphill city centre finish which is sure to look spectacular on the TV coverage.
Stage Four – Gateshead to Kendal – 171.5km
Stage four is most definitely one for the climbers and with almost 3,000 metres of climbing as the race heads west, it’s among the toughest in the history of the modern Tour of Britain.
Heading out of Gateshead – literally just over the River Tyne from the stage three finish – the riders will pass the Angel of the North and head into County Durham before crossing the Pennines into Cumbria.
The finish line sits at the top the 11% Beast Banks in Kendal.
Stage Five – Birkenhead to Birkenhead – 174km
The Wirral hosted a stage of the Tour Series just last week and the racing returns to the peninsula for the fifth stage of this year’s Tour of Britain.
Celebrating the borough’s year as the Liverpool City Region’s borough of culture, the race will showcase the area’s history, heritage and beautiful coastlines.
Riders will head through Port Sunlight and visit Cheshire East and Chester before heading back onto the Wirral and the finish line at Birkenhead Park.
Stage Six – Pershore to Pershore – 14.5km Individual Time Trial
The first of two stages in the middle of the country sees the riders tackle a 14.5km individual time trial which starts and finishes in the market town of Pershore.
The riders will leave Pershore and pass through the brilliantly-named Little Comberton and Bricklehamption as part of a scenic anti-clockwise loop.
Stage six of this year’s Tour is only the third time an ITT has been included in the modern era. The first time in 2016 saw the peloton take on a course around Bristol while two years ago, the time trial took place around Clacton-on-Sea.
German time trial specialist Tony Martin won in 2016 while Lars Boom was the winner on the seafront in Essex.
Stage Seven – Warwick to Burton Dassett Country Park – 186.5km
All of the climbing is packed into the latter part of stage seven, which will see the riders roll out of Warwick town centre and head through the University of Warwick, Kenilworth, Meriden – which is home to the National Cyclists’ Memorial – Atherstone, Bedworth and Wellesbourne.
The peloton will then tackle Sun Rising Hill and then hit a finishing circuit of 12km which will see them make three ascents of Burton Dassett which, at 4.9% average for 1.7km, is probably enough to make the final climb selective.
Stage Eight – Altrincham to Manchester – 165km
Riders hoping for a laidback finale to the 2019 Tour of Britain had better think again because the final stage promises to be no procession.
With almost 2,000 metre of climbing – and visits to all 10 boroughs of Greater Manchester – it should prove to be a spectacular end to this year’s race, especially as it hits the home straight on Deansgate.
It’s the first time in 15 years that the Tour has visited the spiritual home of British Cycling and the crowds are sure to be huge to welcome the riders into the city.