Team JLT Condor p/b Mavic will once again make up one of twenty teams lining up at the start of the UK’s biggest race, The Tour of Britain. The 13th edition of the prestigious race returns to Scotland with the country’s largest city of Glasgow playing host to the race’s departure.
A total distance of 1300km and 22,000 meters of climbing will be covered over the course of eight stages. Running along the western side of Britain, the race will take in the beautiful landscapes of the Lake District, Central Wales and Dartmoor before the finale in the heart of London on the revised circuit that proved popular in 2015.
Come rain or shine, each year the Tour of Britain attracts more and more spectators and this year is sure to be a similar story. Here’s our race guide of what to expect on each stage and how to see the action, both on the roadside and on tv.
Stage 1: GLASGOW to CASTLE DOUGLAS – 161km
As almost traditional, Stage 1 of the Tour of Britain is set to be a stage for the field to stretch their legs and the sprinters to show off for prowess towards the finish line but the route isn’t without its lumps and bumps.
A predominately downhill final 60km along the Galloway Forest after the last KoM is expected to see the teams begin to coordinate their riders and work to look after their sprinters for a fast end to the stage in Castle Douglas.
Recommended viewing – The Galloway Forest is stunning and with a host of walkways in the area it’s easy to make a day of it before and after watching the race go through.
The finish in Castle Douglas is going to be fast and furious and a real spectacle to watch some of the world’s fastest sprinters racing for the line.
Stage 2: CARLISLE to KENDAL – 188km
In contrast to a relatively easy stage the day before, Stage 2 starts lumpy out of Carlisle and only gets lumpier as the race enters the hills of the Lake District and towards the finish in Kendal.
With a total of 3780m of climbing divided up over 188km and three categorised climbs coming in late on in the day, Stage 2 is certainly one for the climbers. Both Graham Briggs and Steve Lampier have bookmarked the stage to be important for maintaining a high position in the general classification.
The testing 3.5km at 6%ave, Whinlatter Pass comes first at 120km with a slightly easier second KoM just 15km after. The race will then take on the last and most notorious, 4.8km at 8%ave climb of ‘The Struggle’ 30km from the finish.
A fast descent from the summit and onto the banks of the largest lake in the district, Lake Windermere offers the riders a little rest. However, the easy nature is short lived as the approach to the finish in Kendal is lumpy and to top it off, the finish is sat at the top of a punchy 200m, 11% climb named, Beast Bank.
Recommended Viewing – The beautiful Lake Districts never disappoints for its stunning landscape. You’d have to sacrifice the finish as the top of the The Struggle would provide the best view of race as you’d be able to see the riders coming up from a far and appreciated the Lake District for glory at the same time.
Stage 3: CONGLESTON to KNUTSFORD – 179km
Stage 3 sees the Tour of Britain return to the county of Cheshire and the local roads of Team JLT Condor HQ.
Departing from the market town of Congleton, the race eases into the day and heads west through the flatter lanes of the Cheshire Plains before turning north and through the beautiful Tatton Park for the first of two passages, which marks the beginning of a loop through the Peak District.
Three King of the Mountain climbs are fitted into 30km with the 1.8km climb of Alderley Edge coming first at 99km. The narrow, 2.6km at 6%ave singletrack lane of Brickworks comes next. The climbing is topped off with the infamous 10.4km climb of The Cat and Fiddle which starts immediately after the descent of Brickworks.
An exposed 50km of descending separates the summit of the Cat and Fiddle and the finish line in Tatton Park, so we can expect the riders too all come back together for a very fast approach towards the line and a sprint for the line.
Recommended viewing – The Cat and Fiddle provides a vast view over the Peak Districts and you’ll be able to see the race approaching the top from afar with a wonderful atmosphere from the bottom to the top. Alternatively, Brickworks offers the narrow and punishing vistas that are equally enjoyable.
Stage 4: DENBIGH to BUILTH WELLS – 218km
At 218km, Stage 4 is the longest stage of this year’s Tour of Britain and traverses almost the entire country of Wales.
Starting from the North in Denbigh the race heads east to tackle Rhydtalog, 34.5km from the start. At 6.5km and an average of 3.5%, the climb lets the riders warm up their climbing legs for what will be a tough day.
The shorter but steeper 5.5Km at 5% average climb of, Bwlch-Y-Safn comes shortly after along the edge of Snowdonia National Park, with the third and final categorised climb, Dyfnant, in at a short and punchy 4.6% for 2.1km nestled amongst a host of uncategorised lumps on the southern edge of Snowdonia National Park.
There is little rest for the peloton as the final 100km contains a host of testing uncategorised climbs that are sure to whittle down the field as they near the finish to complete 4140m of climbing. There is every likelihood that we’ll see a very select group come over the finish line ahead of the rest of the field.
Recommended Viewing – The Snowdonia National Park offers beautiful mountain backdrops and the punchy climbs will show early signs of pain forming on the riders faces.
Stage 5: ABERDARE to BATH – 194.6km
Following a tough day in the Welsh mountains, Stage 5 sees the race heads out of Aberdare on an undulating route east. The race crossed back into England and over two short but punchy categorised climbs in the lush Forest Dean in Gloucestershire before coming through the cathedral city the county is named after.
Leaving Gloucester, the race heads into the rolling hills of the Cotswolds and over a final categorised climb 70km from the finish but the profile remains lumpy until the end.
With few significantly difficult climbs, we should see a sprint for the line in the regal, Victoria Park in bath. However, the tough kickers throughout the day combined with a technical finale and a slight ramp up towards the very narrow right turn through the park gates before the line, may see a select group vying for the win.
Recommended Viewing – The west country is known for its beautiful landscape, both Gloucestershire and the Cotswolds offer plenty views to enjoy before and after the race goes through. The finishing city of Bath a great alternative for those looking to be at the finish. It’s beautifully maintained Georgian buildings are an attraction alone and there is a host of wonderful independent shops to keep you occupied before the race arrives.
Stage 6: SIDMOUTH to HAYTOR, DARTMOOR – 149km
A slightly altered route from the 2013 edition that saw a stage also start in Sidmouth and finish on the punishing climb of Haytor, what Stage 6 lacks in length it well makes up for in difficulty as the race returns to the south-west.
Leaving the seaside town of Sidmouth, the road starts pointing skywards just 9km in and remains the same for much of the day as the race makes its way through the unrelenting Devonshire landscape and over two further energy zapping KoM before tackling the summit finish of Haytor.
The testing terrain leading up the foot of Haytor is expected to see the field split apart and if 2013 is anything to go by, a small group of climbing specialist and GC contenders will be battling it out on the climb and the over race winner could be decided at the top. Coming from nearby Cornwall, our very own, Steve Lampier has got his eyes firmly on putting in a strong performance on a climb he knows well.
Recommended Viewing – Haytor, the 6km climb is going to see an outstanding final climbing day and there’ll be great atmosphere all the way from the bottom to the top with fans expected to line the roadside, cheering on the riders.
Stage 7: BRITSOL (Individual Time Trial & Circuit Race) – 15km (ITT) & 90km (Circuit)
Split up between two races, the modern yet charming city of Bristol is set to host both an individual time trial and circuit race on a 15.3km course through the city.
Taking in some of the cities most recognised sights, the 15.3km lap will be completed once during the ITT and on six occasions during the 90km circuit race.
Not known as the flattest city in the UK, the course features some undulation at the beginning and the testing climb of Bridge Valley Road towards the end, a climb was featured in the 2013 edition of the Tour of Britain.
We could see a possible shake up in the general classification standings with some very notable time trial specialists dropping down the start ramp. Finishing the day with fast circuit race that is expected to see an epic sprint finish, it is undoubtedly going to be an action packed day in Bristol for spectators.
Recommended Viewing – The city of Bristol offers a lot of great viewing locations all along the 15km circuit, but notable the climb of Bridge Valley Road will be busy with spectators. Clifton Suspension Bridge is also worth visiting to see the riders coming across.
Stage 8: LONDON – 99km Circuit race.
Following a successful redesign of the circuit that proved popular in 2015, as is almost customary, the 2016 Tour of Britain will conclude on a 6.2km circuit through the centre of London.
The almost pan flat circuit takes in some of London’s most iconic landmarks and is taken on 16 times before the final showdown between the sprinters on Regent Street.
Fast from the start and within close quarters, the final stage is always a spectacle to enjoy from all corners of the course but be sure to leave plenty of time to get back for the finish line.
Recommended Viewing – All along the 6.2km circuit offers great viewing of the race but for those wanting iconic photographs, stand at the top of Whitehall and look towards Westminster.
If you’re unable to make it to the road side to catch the race coming past you, have no fear, the Tour of Britain will be broadcasted live both on freeview via ITV4 and the BIKE Channel UK on varies services (Sky channel 464, Virgin Media channel 552 and Freesat channel 251). Plus, ITV4 will show a one-hour highlight programme in the evenings of each stage as well as an hour before the live coverage of the following stage, and it will be available for 30-days after broadcast on ITV.com/hub
Stage 1: Sunday 4 September – LIVE 1:00pm – HIGHLIGHTS 8:00pm
Stage 2: Monday 5 September – LIVE 1:00pm – HIGHLIGHTS 8:00pm
Stage 3: Tuesday 6 September – LIVE 1:00pm – HIGHLIGHTS 10:00pm
Stage 4: Wednesday 7 September – LIVE 1:00pm – HIGHLIGHTS 8:00pm
Stage 5: Thursday 8 September – LIVE 1:00pm – HIGHLIGHTS 8:00pm
Stage 6: Friday 9 September – LIVE 12.30pm – HIGHLIGHTS 8:00pm
Stage 7: Saturday 10 September – LIVE 2:00pm – HIGHLIGHTS 8:00pm
Stage 8: Sunday 11 September – LIVE 2:00pm – HIGHLIGHTS 8:00pm
You’ll be also be able to follow the races through Team JLT Condor social media channels as well as live tweets from Tour of Britain’s very own channels.
We will be providing full galleries and reports on our Facebook following each stage as well as a mini film series throughout the tour, plus, our very own Conor Dunne will once again be writing a rider’s web blog for Cyclist Magazine.
Team JLT Condor –
The Tour of Britain –
Tour Tracker App
For more information and a full downloadable race guide head over to the Tour of Britain website.
Looking to cap off the team’s most successful season in recent years, Team Manager, John Herety, along with the help of the team’s Performance Director, Tim Kennaugh, have put together a versatile and strong six-man squad to tackle both the flatter stages and the tough hilly ones.