After months of watching the pros race everywhere but the UK, the Tour of Britain is finally returning for the first time since 2019. This year, the battle will commence over eight days of racing from 5th – 12th September, and the route will stretch from Penzance in southern England to Aberdeen in Scotland, dipping in and out of Wales on the way. If you’re among the lucky few whose local area will be on the route, it’s a fantastic opportunity to get close to the action.
Watching a bike race live really allows you to soak up the atmosphere, often filled with cowbells and excitement, and there’s nothing like watching the best riders in the world taking on some of your local training roads. If you do get the chance, we’d highly recommend it. Why not make a day of it? Some of the routes have loops so you can see the riders more than once, and if not, take a picnic, make it a family affair – perhaps you’ll get your kids inspired, you never know where the next big star will come from. The tour has some of the top race teams taking part and you can expect to see many of the same riders that ride the Tour de France. Plus, it’s free to watch.
Whether you’re brand new to the sport of cycling or you’re a seasoned spectator, we’ve put together a guide for the upcoming race, including stage details and who you should be looking out for. Even if you end up having to watch it on the television instead, it’s an exciting race and something we can all look forward to this September.
Stage 1 – Penzance – Bodmin, 180.8km
The first stage will unfold through some of the most stunning parts of the Cornish countryside, culminating just outside of Bodmin station. It won’t be an easy start to the Tour of Britain by any means, with riders facing three 3rd-category climbs and an uphill finish to stretch the legs along the twisty 180km route. The final ramp climbs 500 metres, averaging a 5% gradient but with spikes of 13% – it’ll be a thriller of a finale.
Stage 2 – Sherford – Exeter, 183.9km
Stage 2 begins in the newly built community of Sherford, where riders will take in a loop to the east before heading north towards Exeter. This is a slightly hillier stage than the first, with three cat 2 KOMs for the riders to tackle. Spectators close to Exeter can watch the race unfold from Queen Street, near the Central Station. Or for views of the final climb, consider the area of New North Road, near Exeter College.
Stage 3 – Llandeilo – National Botanic Garden of Wales, 18.2km
The only time trial in the week-long race is held on stage 3. It’s a team time trial that takes in a relatively flat 18.2km course from Llandeilo to the National Botanic Garden of Wales. The teams only have a single climb (if we can call it that) to tackle before it flattens out for the finish. Spectators won’t be allowed at the start, but there are opportunities to watch the riders at the finish and slightly before, on Nantgaredig Bridge. TTTs are great spectacles with aerodynamics and fluidity the name of the game, not to mention the viewer-friendly nature of the discipline, i.e. you get to see every team in action one after the other.
Stage 4 – Aberaeron – Great Orme, Llandudno, 210km
For the first time in modern Tour of Britain history, the route will enter mid-Wales. Stage 4 is one of the hilliest of the week with an uphill finish atop Great Orme in Llandudno. If you’re looking to catch the best action, head to the finish which can be accessed either by foot or tram.
Stage 5 – Alderley Park – Warrington, 152.2km
The route heads back into England for stage 5, where riders will tackle three tough climbs before a flatter second half where you can hope to see some of the sprinters in action. The Tour village will be set up in Warrington where you can watch the action unfold on a big screen before seeing the finish in person.
Stage 6 – Carlisle – Gateshead, 198km
The second-longest stage of this year’s Tour of Britain will begin in Carlisle and snake along northern England until riders reach the famous Angel of the North statue, where they will be met with another uphill finish. The official guide recommends spectators head to the start where you can see the riders set off from near Carlisle Castle.
Stage 7 – Hawick – Edinburgh, 194.8km
The punchy stage 7 route cuts north through the Scottish Borders on its way to the historic city of Edinburgh, which hosts a stage finish for the first time. Head to Holyrood Park for excellent views of the final stretch.
Stage 8 – Stonehaven – Aberdeen, 173km
The final stage of the Tour of Britain will see the most northerly route it’s ever taken. The riders will tackle a couple of classified climbs before a stunning coastal finish to mark the end of this year’s event. Head to the finish to see the riders for the final time as they get one last chance to bid for glory.
If you’re among the many that won’t be able to see the race in person this year, don’t fret, there are ways you can watch every stage from the comfort of your own home. ITV4 will be showing each stage live from start to finish, alongside GCN+ and Eurosport.
The Tour of Britain is such an important race as it mixes the top talent from British domestic teams with WorldTour superstars. Although not many riders have been confirmed, the few that have are bound to animate the race.
Belgian superstar Wout van Aert is among the first confirmed riders for Team Jumbo-Visma, racing his first stage race since the Tour de France where he took three remarkable victories. Speaking of remarkable Tour de France performances, Britain’s very own Mark Cavendish is also taking part. He has had something of a resurgence this year so expect to see him at the pointy end of any sprint stages. Cavendish’s team mate, Julian Alaphillippe will be returning to race again this year, leading their Belgian team Deceuninck-Quick Step. One of Cavendish’s rivals will be André Greipel as he looks to see out his final season with some good results. Another British WorldTour star slated to take part is Alex Dowsett, the TT national champion who will be looking to secure a good result with his Israel Start-Up Nation team in the TTT. Keep your eyes on the news and relevant social media channels as we get closer to the start date for more confirmed riders.
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