The OVO Energy Tour of Britain, Britain’s most prestigious cycling event, returns this September. Attracting cycling’s top talent, including Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas, the race offers members of the public a chance to view the heroes of the sport up close and in action, for free! The race is an eight-day event with the aim to cover as much of Britain as possible during that time.

Therefore, the route changes each year and sadly for some, many areas are missed out. That’s why this year is particularly special for Cumbria, which has been chosen to host two stages of the 2018 race, an honour that no other area has achieved during the race’s history. Furthermore, Cumbria has been chosen to host the race’s first ever uphill team time trial.

The Tour of Britain in Cumbria – Stage Five & Stage Six

Tour of Britain 2018

Thursday, 6 September: Stage Five

Tour of Britain 2018: Stage 5

The Tour of Britain is first coming to Cumbria on Thursday, 6th September for Stage Five. Cockermouth is once again hosting the start of the race, having previously done so in 2015. However, this time round, the race takes a different format, with the teams taking part in a gruelling uphill time trial.

Teams will start the trial at three-minute intervals, and then cycle just 14km to the Whinlatter Visitor Centre, with a 300m ascent. The route will take the cyclists from Main Street in Cockermouth, through the Lorton Valley, and up along Whinlatter Pass to the visitor centre.

Friday, 7 September: Stage Six

Tour of Britain 2018: Stage 6

On Friday, 7th September, the Tour reverts back to a traditional, long distance race, covering vast swathes of Cumbria. As the sixth stage of this eight-stage race, this part of the race is expected to be particularly exciting, as potential Tour champions start to emerge. Stage six is going to be a challenging and testing day for the competitors. The 168km race will begin in the industrial town of Barrow-In-Furness in south Cumbria, before heading along a coastal road up to Ulverston. From there, the route takes cyclists along Coniston Water and across undulating roads that lead through the village of Hawkshead Hill and up towards Ambleside.

The cyclists will then join the A591 as it meanders past Grasmere, Ryal, and Thirlmere, before going through Keswick to join the A66. The cyclists will then have to leave the A66 at Braithwaite to tackle the steeper side of Whinlatter Pass, before dropping down to Loweswater and out west to Workington. The cyclists will explore some of the villages of West Cumbria before returning to Cockermouth again, and then head to Bassenthwaite, back round to Braithwaite and up to the Whinlatter Visitor Centre to finish.

Spectator Information for Stage Five & Six

If past events are anything to go by, then it is likely that this event will attract large crowds. Therefore, if you want to see the action, it’s best to plan your visit in advance. There will be road closures in operation at the start and end points of the race, and a rolling road closure will be in force during the race, moving with the cyclists. For this reason, if you are relying on your car to get you somewhere close to the action, it is best to head for an area with parking nearby, such as one of the towns or the Whinlatter Visitor Centre.

Stage Five: Cockermouth to Whinlatter Time Trial – Parking & Timings

The best places to watch the action for Stage Five are Cockermouth and Whinlatter. In Cockermouth, there are numerous pay and display car parks around the town, although the Sullart Street car park will be closed on the day. There are also bus routes into the town from Keswick and Workington. Main Street and Station Street will be closed from the night before, and parking will not be available on these roads.

The cyclists will leave Cockermouth Main Street in three-minute intervals starting at 1pm. It is anticipated that the last team will leave Cockermouth just before 2pm. Although conditions on the day can not be guaranteed, it is anticipated that it will take the cyclists around 20 minutes to reach the end point at Whinlatter, with the first team expected around 1.20pm and the final team expected at 2.20pm. Whinlatter Pass will be closed from 11.30am to 3.30pm for this stage, with access only for pedestrians.

At Whinlatter, there are 250 car parking spaces, and you must book your space in advance. You can do this in person at the Visitor Centre, or by calling 01768 778 469. Spaces cost £15 and are valid all day. For stage 5, the car park will open at 8am, but there will be no access through the roadblock after 11.30am. Cars will be able to leave the car park after 3.30pm, once all the action is complete.

The Whinlatter Visitor Centre will be hosting the Tour Village, where there will be a large screen with coverage of the event, and exhibits from the events partners and sponsors.

Stage Six: Barrow-In-Furness to Whinlatter – Parking & Times

Stage Six is a long stretch and includes three climbs that contribute to the King of the Mountains competition. Much of the route is on country roads where there will be rolling road blocks in place, making access difficult for those who are travelling by car. The best places to head to will be the towns where the race is heading through. The route finishes at Whinlatter Pass, where once again the Tour Village will be present with a large screen showing the race.

The race starts at Barrow-In-Furness. There are a number of car parks in Barrow, but the Market Street and Town Hall car parks will be closed on the day. There will be a Fan Zone at the town centre end of Dalton Road with a big screen displaying all the action. The race will start from Duke Street at 11am, and this road will be closed from 5am until 1pm. From there, the race will pass through the following towns, all of which have ample pay and display parking, as follows:

  • Ulverston – Market Street & King Street, ETA 11.25am to 11.44am
  • Coniston – A593 & Tilberthwaite Avenue (B5285), ETA 11.55am to 12.20pm
  • Ambleside – A593 (Rydal Road, Compston Road), A591 (Rydal Road towards Grasmere), ETA 12.19pm to 12.43pm
  • Grasmere – B5287 (Stock Lane, Church Stile, Broadgate, Swan Lane), ETA 12.28 to 12.54pm
  • Keswick – Chestnut Hill, Penrith Road, Bank Street, Main Street, High Hill, ETA 12.55 to 1.27pm
  • Whinlatter Pass (Parking at Visitor Centre*) – B5292, ETA 1.04pm to 1.37pm
  • Workington – High Street, Oxford Street, Station Road, A597, Northside Road, ETA 1.49pm to 2.30pm
  • Cockermouth – Gote Road, Main Street, Castlegate Drive, ETA 2.17pm to 2.57pm
  • Keswick (2nd Visit) – Crosthwaite Road, High Hill, ETA 2.50pm to 3.29pm
  • Whinlatter Visitor Centre* – Finish Line, ETA 3pm to 3.39pm

*Note parking must be booked in advance at Whinlatter Visitor Centre and costs £15. The car park will be open at 8am and Whinlatter Pass will be closed from 10.30am. Spectators at Whinlatter will be unable to leave the car park until 5pm.