Details of the 2018 Tour of Britain route, which runs from September 2 to 9

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The Tour of Britain will return in 2018, with the race moving around the country between September 2 to 9 – kicking off in Pembrey Country Park, Wales, and drawing to its conclusion with a fast and flat criterium in London.

During its eight day takeover, the Ovo Energy sponsored race will visit a selection of towns and cities with plenty of opportunities for UK fans to pitch up and spectate.

The race dates right back to 1945, though there have been some gaps in its history. In this time, it’s carried the names of the ‘Milk Race’, ‘Kellogg’s Tour of Britain’ and the ‘Pru Tour’. The existing set-up arrived in 2004 and the race is currently organised by the Sweet Spot Group.

Tour of Britain 2018 route: where can I watch?

Crowds will gather at the start and finish towns, as well as lining the route – specifically congregating at key climbs for a chance to see fireworks as riders try to split the race or take control of the peloton.

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

The 2018 Tour of Britain route will be made up of eight stages, beginning in Wales and ending in London:

Stage one Sunday, September 2 Pembrey Country Park to Newport 175km
Stage two Monday, September 3 Cranbrook to Barnstaple 174km
Stage three Tuesday, September 4 Bristol to Bristol 125km
Stage four Wednesday, September 5 Nuneaton to Royal Leamington Spa 183km
Stage five Thursday, September 5 Cockermouth to Whinlatter Pass 14km (TTT)
Stage six Friday, September 7 Barrow-in-Furness to Whinlatter Pass 169km
Stage seven Saturday, September 8 West Bridgford to Mansfield 223km
Stage eight Sunday, September 9 The London Stage 77km

Tour of Britain 2018 route: stage-by stage

Tour of Britain route 2018

After a 2017 race which featured multiple fast, flat finishes, the organisers have got creative this year – with everything from a team time trial featuring gradients of over twenty percent to a summit finish the following day.

The opening stage kicks off in Pembrey Country Park, and includes climbs in the Brecon Beacons and stage two offers little respite with clusters of climbs between Cranbrook and Barnstaple. Bristol hosts the start and finish of the 125km stage three, which visits the Mendips for yet more hills.

By contrast, stage four’s Nuneaton to Royal Leamington Spa 183km will lend an opportunity for the sprinters, with a flat run in to the finish, before a 14km TTT which leads the riders up to Whinlatter Pass and its 20 per cent plus gradients. The riders revisit the same pass twice the following day, with the finish line at the tip of the climb after 169km.

The fast men will be pleased to see that the following stage – 223km from West Bridgford to Mansfield – groups the climbs at the start of the day, with a flat finish that lends itself to a bunch sprint, whilst the final day’s London criterium will yield similar results.

Stage one: Pembrey Country Park to Newport, 175km

After the race as a whole finished in Cardiff in 2017, the 2018 Tour of Britain route sees stage one finish just down the road in Newport. The biggest climbs come in the Brecon Beacons, but the 700m, 10 per cent climb of Belmont Hill just eight kilometres from the finish should be more crucial.

Stage two: Cranbrook to Barnstaple, 174km

With barely a metre of flat road all day, stage two promises to be a tough day out as the race makes its way from north to south across the West Country. Tough climbs early in the stage could pose problems and split the race up early, but the crucial factor will be the steep and narrow climb of Challacombe.

Stage three: Bristol to Bristol, 125km

Only 125km in length, stage three will be a short and sharp day out as the race starts and finishes in Bristol with a big loop through the Mendips in the middle. The shape of the stage is familiar to the opening few days, with the toughest climb coming at Cheddar Gorge midway through the day but the most important ascent being the puncy climb of Ashton Hill just seven kilometre from the line.

Stage four: Nuneaton to Royal Leamington Spa, 183km

Compared to the previous days, stage four to Royal Leamington Spa looks relatively benign but should still see a whittling down process as the race clips the edge of the Cotswolds with climbs at Ilmington, Edge Hill, and Burton Dassett. This stage is very similar to stage three of the 2017 and 2018 Women’s Tour, and should come down to a sprint up the Parade in Leamington.

Stage five: Cockermouth to Whinlatter Pass, 14km (TTT)

The Tour of Britain has never been scared of a bit of experimentation over the years and is taking things to the next level with this uphill team time trial. The first half is rolling before the climb of Whinlatter Pass, which hits gradients of more than 20 per cent midway up before flattening out near the summit.

Stage six: Barrow-in-Furness to Whinlatter Pass, 169km

The queen stage of this year’s Tour of Britain might avoid the brutal Lake District climbs such as The Struggle and Honister Pass that it has tackled in previous editions, but this day still packs quite a punch. Hawkshead Hill and Dunmail Rise will soften the pack up early in the day, before Whinlatter Pass is tackled twice from the opposite, tougher, direction to stage five, with the finish coming at the top of the second ascent.

Stage seven: West Bridgford to Mansfield, 223km

After a tough first six stages, the riders will look forward to what should be a relatively straightforward stage to Mansfield, which hosted the start of a stage in 2017. All of the categorised climbs come early on the day and the sprinters will be hoping for a bunch finish.

Stage eight: The London Stage, 77km

After finishing in Cardiff last year, the 2018 Tour of Britain returns to the capital for a final criterium around the streets of London. The GC should be all wrapped up by this point, so the peloton should be able to enjoy views of the Houses of Parliametnt and Trafalgar Square before a final bunch sprint on Regent Street.

Tour of Britain on TV

You’ll be able to see the race live or catch up via highlights on ITV4 – the timings are below.

Stage Date Live Highlights
Stage 1 Sunday 3rd September 10:15 – 15:45 22:00
Stage 2 Monday 4th September 10:00 – 16:00 20:00
Stage 3 Tuesday 5th September 10:45 – 16:00 20:00
Stage 4 Wednesday 6th September 10:45 – 15:45 20:00
Stage 5 Thursday 7th September 11:45 – 15:00 20:00
Stage 6 Friday 8th September 10:30 – 15:45 20:00
Stage 7 Saturday 9th September 10:15 – 15:30 20:00
Stage 8 Sunday 10th September 10:45 – 16:00 20:00

Alternatively, you can also catch the racing on fuboTV – there’s a free trial and you can connect on any device.

Who sponsors the Tour of Britain?

British independent energy supplier OVO Energy was unveiled as the race’s title sponsor in 2017, and this continues into 2018.

The race is organised by the Sweet Spot Group, who also organise the OVO Energy Women’s Tour.

Tour of Britain 2018 jerseys

The top prize at the Tour of Britain is the green jersey, this goes to the leader of the General Classification, in 2017 this took the name of the title sponsor, Ovo and it’s expected that will continue into 2018.

Elia Viviani (Team Skiy) in the OVO Energy Green Jersey. Picture by Simon Wilkinson/SWpix.com

There’s also a Points jersey up for grabs, for the rider who claims the best results in stage winning sprints – in 2017 this was sponsored by Wiggle. Points are awarded to the top 15 riders.

Closely related is the Sprints jersey, sponsored by Eisberg in 2017 – donned by the rider who picks up the most points in intermediate sprints.

The King of the Mountains Jersey goes to the rider who claims the best results on designated ascents – in 2017 the sponsor was Skoda.

Who won the 2017 Tour of Britain?

Victory of the 2017 race went to Lars Boom (LottoNL-Jumbo), though the win was almost taken from him by Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data) who attacked solo on the final stage.

Lars Boom of Lotto Jumbo wins Stage 5. Picture by Simon Wilkinson/SWpix.com Tour of Britain

Lars Boom of Lotto Jumbo wins Stage 5 of the Tour of Britain. Picture by Simon Wilkinson/SWpix.com

Boasson Hagen took the win on stage eight, but finished the race 8 seconds behind Boom on the GC.

It was Norwegian rider’s third GC win at the Tour of Britain, in 2017 it was the stage five time trial that moved him into the lead, having won by six seconds.

Stages six and seven were bunch sprint affairs, meaning Boom was able to finish in the pack and maintain his grasp in the leader’s jersey. Though Boasson Hagen’s attack almost stole the honour away from him, chasers hoping for a bunch sprint finish were able to claw back the majority of the time difference.

Final overall classification for 2017

1. Steve Cummings (GBr) Dimension Data at 31-30-45
2. Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing at 26 secs
3. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Giant-Alpecin at 38 secs
4. Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto-Soudal at 1-02
5. Dylan van Baarle (Ned) Cannondale-Drapac at 1-21
6. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Team Sky at 1-26
7. Xandro Meurisse (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert at 1-48
8. Ben Swift (GBr) Team Sky at 1-52
9. Julien Vermote (Bel) Etixx-QuickStep at 2-12
10. Jacopo Mosca (Ita) Trek-Segafredo at 2-32

Reports from the 2017 race

Key info: 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