Tour of Britain 2021: Everything you need to know about the week-long race

This year's race will take the peloton from Cornwall, through Wales, before finishing in Scotland

Ethan Hayter retakes the overall lead after stage five of the Tour of Britain 2021
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The Tour of Britain 2021 takes place between Sunday September 5 and Sunday September 12, covering eight stages.

The 2021 route includes a team time trial in Wales and a hill-top finish on Great Orme.  

After the 2020 edition of the Tour of Britain was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, this year’s race will take place from Sunday, September 5 to September 12 over eight stages.

The route will take the peloton all the way from Cornwall, up through Wales, before finishing in Scotland, covering 1,320km. 

Starting in Penzance on stage one, the 2021 Tour of Britain will pass through Devon for a stage two finish in Exeter.

Stage three will be a team time trial in Carmarthenshire, over a 27.5km route, starting in Llandeilo. 

Then on stage four, the queen stage of this year’s race, riders will finish atop Great Orme in Llandudno after a 215km course in mid-Wales. That final climb is 1.9km with an average gradient of 9.8 per cent. 

For stage five the race will finish in Warrington, with stage six then running from Carlisle to Gateshead.  

Finally the race will end with two stages in Scotland - the first from Hawick to Edinburgh, and then stage eight from Stonehaven to Aberdeen. 

The race will see a peloton of around 120 riders seek to take the title from reigning champion, Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix), who won't be riding due to injury. 

Mark Cavendish (Deceuninck - Quick-Step) was the first rider to be confirmed to be riding this year's race, and he'll line up alongside his team-mate and world champion Julian Alaphilippe.

Alongside Alaphilippe, another favourite is Belgian road race champion Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), who will be leading his team at his debut in the Tour of Britain. 

The race is expected to boost Cornwall's economy by around £3 million with 180,000 people due to spectate; it'll be the biggest sporting event ever hosted in Cornwall, and will be broadcast on ITV4 and Eurosport.

Devon has played host to the race 10 times previously, the last instance was in 2018. Australian Cameron Meyer won the stage, whilst a group of farmers from South Molton won the first-ever 'National Land Art' competition for their depiction of a bicycle made from hay bales and tractors.

It's estimated that 1.7 million people have lined the route in the county so far, bringing in £41 million to the local economy.

>>> Dr Hutch: What were the origins of the Tour of Britain?

Tour of Britain 2021 route

Stage one, Sunday September 5: Penzance to Bodmin (180.8km) 

Tour of Britain stage one profile

(Image credit: Sweetspot)

The first stage of the race between Penzance and Bodmin was a challenging one with sharp climbs throughout the day including a sharp one up to the finish.

The day went to Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) who followed a late attack by Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck - Quick-Step) well before powering to the line ahead of Nils Eekhoff (DSM) in second.

Stage two, Monday September 6: Sherford to Exeter (184km) 

Tour of Britain stage two profile

(Image credit: Sweetspot )

The ride the Exeter is peppered with big climbs on the usual roads of Devon as the race left Cornwall with three category two climbs along the way.

The stage that was expected to be a bunch sprint turned into a sprint for minor places as one rider, Robin Carpenter (Rally Cycling), held on to take the win from the breakaway by 33 seconds over a pack led in by Ethan Hayter (Ineos Grenadiers).

Stage three, Tuesday September 7: Camarthenshire (27.5km TTT)

Tour of Britain stage three profile

(Image credit: Tour of Britain)

The Tour of Britain seems to be a safe space for the discipline of the team time trial. The last time it was used in the race was from Cockermouth to the top of Whinlatter Pass from the easier side in 2018 with the now named Team Jumbo-Visma. It is hardly ever seen in other races these days.

It was the expected three teams that fought it out for the win with Ineos Grenadiers coming out on top, seeing British rider Ethan Hayter go into the lead of the race with team-mate Rohan Dennis moving into second.

Stage four, Wednesday, September 8: Aberaeron to Great Orme, Llandudno (209.7km)

Tour of Britain 2021 stage four

(Image credit: Tour of Britain)

The first major day for the GC riders came on stage four and the half way point of the race with a summit finish up the steep Great Orme outside of Llandudno after yet another challenging day with a category one climb and two cat twos along the way.

It, unsurprisingly, all came down to the final climb after an amazing day of racing that saw a plethora of attacks from the half-way point onwards. It was Wout van Aert who out-sprinter world champion Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck - Quick-Step) to the line after those two pushed on with Michael Woods (Israel Start-Up Nation).

Former leader's jersey Ethan Hayter (Ineos Grenadiers) lost eight seconds to Van Aert, handing the leader's jersey back to the Belgian thanks to the bonus seconds on the line with the Brit two seconds behind.

Stage five, Thursday September 9: Alderley Park to Warrington (152km)

Tour of Britain 2021 stage five profile

(Image credit: Sweetspot)

The Northwest played host to stage five and a day that suited the sprinters amongst the peloton. There were some climbs early on and midway through the stage, but far enough from the finish in Warrington that the fast men didn't have trouble making it to the line for a bunch sprint.

Ethan Hayter came out on top with a superb sprint to beat Giacomo Nizzolo with Mark Cavendish coming in fifth on the day. Hayter took the leader's jersey for the second time thanks to the bonus seconds giving him an eight second lead over Van Aert.

Stage six, Friday September 10: Carlisle to Gateshead (192.7km)

Tour of Britain stage six

(Image credit: Tour of Britain)

Yet another day that looks a lot like it will favour the overall riders rather than any sprinters, especially with the uphill finish in Gateshead. The race does dip into the stunning Lake District National Park but only briefly as the race takes in the Aira Force waterfall and the stunning Ullswater before heading east.

It panned out just like that too with a select group of 10 riders got away with the main three riders of Alaphilippe, Hayter and Van Aert battling for the stage as the fastest in the group. 

It was Van Aert who took the win, his third of this year's race, cutting the deficit between him and Hayter in the GC to four seconds with two days remaining.

Stage seven, Saturday September 11: Hawick to Edinburgh (194.7km)

Tour of Britain stage seven profile

(Image credit: Sweetspot )

The race enters Scotland and heads up to the capital city with a finish in Edinburgh and a likely sprint. But, as ever with the Tour of Britain the route is very hilly. Three categorised climbs but there are multiple kicks along the way to the finish.

Stage eight, Sunday September 12: Stonehaven to Aberdeen (173km)


Tour of Britain stage eight profile

(Image credit: Sweetspot)

The last stage of the race heads to Aberdeen for the first time but the route to get there looks like its a bit backwards with the category one Cairn O'Mount coming very early in the day and the route getting less challenging as it goes on with a likely sprint to finish off the week of racing.

Stage 1September 5 2021Penzance to Bodmin180.5km
Stage 2September 6 2021Sherford to Exeter184km
Stage 3September 7 2021Camarthenshire team time trial27.5km (TTT)
Stage 4September 8 2021Aberaeron to Great Orme, Llandudno209.7km
Stage 5September 9 2021Cheshire (TBA) to Warrington152km
Stage 6September 10 2021Carlisle to Gateshead192.7km
Stage 7September 11 2021Hawick to Edinburgh194.7km
Stage 8September 12 2021Stonehaven to Aberdeen173km

Tour of Britain 2021 startlist


2 DILLIER Silvan
5 RICHARDSON Alexandar
6 SBARAGLI Kristian

Deceuninck - Quick-Step 

15 HONORÉ Mikkel Frølich

Ineos Grenadiers

21 HAYTER Ethan
22 DENNIS Rohan
23 DOULL Owain
26 PORTE Richie

Team Jumbo-Visma

31 VAN AERT Wout
32 BENNETT George
33 HARPER Chris
35 FOSS Tobias
36 MARTIN Tony

Caja Rural - Seguros RGA

45 MARTÍN Sergio Roman

Great Britain

52 GEORGE Alfred
54 TIDBALL William
55 VERNON Ethan
56 WATSON Samuel

Global 6 Cycling

61 BERLIN Antoine
63 HANSEN Dan Erik
64 MITRI James
65 PALUTA Michał
66 SESSLER Nícolas

Rally Cycling

73 JOYCE Colin
74 MANNION Gavin
75 MURPHY Kyle
76 ZUKOWSKY Nickolas

Canyon dhb Sungod

82 BOSTOCK Matthew
84 MEIN Thomas
85 SCOTT Jacob
86 STEDMAN Maximilian

Israel Start-Up Nation 

92 BEVIN Patrick
93 BRÄNDLE Matthias
94 GREIPEL André
96 WOODS Michael

Team Arkéa-Samsic

101 SWIFT Connor
102 BOUET Maxime
103 FLÓREZ Miguel Eduardo
104 MCLAY Daniel
105 OWSIAN Łukasz
106 WELTEN Bram

Movistar Team 

111 SOLER Marc
112 ARCAS Jorge
113 HOLLMAN Juri
114 CULLAIGH Gabriel
115 JORGENSEN Matteo

Ribble Weldtite Procycling

121 SHAW James
123 GIBSON Matt
124 LEWIS Gruff
125 PAGE Charles
126 WILSON Samuel

Team DSM 

131 DONOVAN Mark
132 COMBAUD Romain
133 EEKHOFF Nils
134 KANTER Max
136 ROCHE Nicolas

Saint Piran

141 LAMPIER Steve
142 HOLLAND Ross
143 MAXWELL Oliver
145 SYMONDS Bradley
146 YOUNG Jenson

Team Qhubeka-NextHash 

152 BARBERO Carlos
153 BENNETT Sean
154 CLARKE Simon
155 SCHMID Mauro

SwiftCarbon Pro Cycling 

161 LATHAM Chris
163 LAMB Ross
164 O'MAHONY Darragh
165 PECKHOVER Oliver
166 PETERS Alex

Trinity Racing

171 GLOAG Thomas
173 HEALY Ben
175 TURNER Ben
176 WALKER Max

Tour of Britain 2021 TV schedule

As per previous years, it's likely you'll be able to see the race live or catch up via highlights on ITV4, Eurosport, Eurosport Player and GCN+.

Who sponsors the Tour of Britain?

British independent energy supplier OVO Energy was unveiled as the race's title sponsor in 2017, but the Tour of Britain as well as the Women's Tour are on the hunt for a new backer after OVO decided to bring their sponsorship to an end after three years.

The new title sponsor for the 2021 race is AJ Bell which is an online investment company that helps people invest in long-term ISAs, pensions and general investment accounts. It also takes over the sponsorship of The Women's Tour too.

Tour of Britain jerseys

The top prize at the Tour of Britain is the blue, red and white jersey, this goes to the leader of the General Classification. In the last edition of the race, this went to Mathieu Van der Peol (Corendon-Circus) back when it was a green jersey.

Wout van Aert took the new blue, red and white leaders jersey after winning stage one of the Tour of Britain 2021

(Image credit: Getty Images)

There's also a Points jersey up for grabs, for the rider who claims the best results in stage winning sprints. In 2019 Matteo Trentin (then Mitchelton Scott).

Closely related is the Sprints jersey, donned by the rider who picks up the most points in intermediate sprints - this was awarded to Rory Townsend (Canyon-dhb).

The King of the Mountains Jersey goes to the rider who claims the best results on designated ascents. In 2019, Jacob Scott (Swiftcarbon Pro Cycling) took the honours.

>>> Get inspired: Iconic ToB photos

Past winners of the Tour of Britain

  • 2004 – Mauricio Ardila (Col) Chocolade Jacques-Wincor Nixdorf
  • 2005 – Nick Nuyens (Bel) Quick-Step-Innergetic
  • 2006 – Martin Pedersen (Den) Team CSC
  • 2007 – Romain Feillu (Fra) Agritubel
  • 2008 – Geoffroy Lequatre (Fra) Agritubel
  • 2009 – Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Team Columbia-HTC
  • 2010 – Michael Albasini (Sui) Team HTC-Columbia
  • 2011 – Lars Boom (Ned) Rabobank
  • 2012 – Nathan Haas (Aus) Garmin-Sharp
  • 2013 – Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Team Sky
  • 2014 – Dylan van Baarle (Ned) Garmin-Sharp
  • 2015 – Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) MTN-Qhubeka
  • 2016 – Steve Cummings (GBr) Team Dimension Data
  • 2017 – Lars Boom (Ned) LottoNL–Jumbo
  • 2018 - Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step Floors
  • 2019 - Mathieu Van der Peol (Ned) Corendon-Circus
  • 2020 - No race due to Covid-19 pandemic