[D]etails of the Cumbria stage of the Tour of Britain have today been announced, including the locations of the SKODA King of the Mountains climbs that riders will tackle between Carlisle and Kendal on Monday 5 September.
Pedal Heaven riders Jack Pullar and James Gullen helped organisers launch the Cumbria stage from the Kirkstone Pass, at the summit of The Struggle climb that will play a key role in the race.
Stage Two of British Cycling’s premier road cycling event will take place entirely within Cumbria showcasing the county’s flood recovery work as well as providing a boost to the local economy following the winter storms.
The extensive media coverage the event brings, including three-hours of live coverage on ITV4, will demonstrate Cumbria is open for business and highlight infrastructure repair work, including key roads and bridges across the county damaged in the December storms.
During the 188.2km Cumbria stage of the Tour of Britain, riders will pass through some of the communities worst affected by last winter’s storms and flooding, taking in the newly-reopened section of the A591 at Dunmail Raise, the temporary bridge at Pooley Bridge and repaired roads in Carlisle and Kendal.
Key points in the stage will be the SKODA King of the Mountains climbs, the first of which comes at Whinlatter Pass, with the 5-kilometre climb averaging 4% to the summit west of Keswick. It will be the first time that the Tour of Britain has tackled the climb.
The second SKODA King of the Mountains climb comes at Chestnut Hill outside Keswick, as used during the 2013 Cumbrian stage of the race. Riders will then tackle the key climb of Stage Two, The Struggle, which ascends 394-metres from Ambleside to the Kirkstone Pass in just 4.8-kilometres, averaging 8%. The summit comes with less than 30-kilometres of racing remaining before the uphill finish in Kendal.
The stage will also include three intermediate Yodel Sprints, sponsored by parcel delivery company Yodel, which will take place at Hesket Newmarket, Cockermouth and in the village of Grasmere, where time bonuses will be available and points towards the Yodel Sprints Jersey.
Mick Bennett, Race Director for the Tour of Britain said: “This year’s Tour of Britain will be a great opportunity for the people of Cumbria to showcase their county and the beautiful scenery while at the same time providing a stern test for the riders in what will be a challenging stage. The route has been designed to take in many of the communities affected by the flooding, while at the same time incorporating iconic climbs like The Struggle, so we can’t wait to see the Cumbrian crowds lining the route.”
John Hilton, United Utilities’ project director for West Cumbria, said: “We’re thrilled that the tour is coming to Cumbria. It’s a fantastic opportunity to showcase this unique part of the world, and provide a positive focus following the devastating floods which hit the area at the start of the year. We’re especially excited that the route will include a lap of Thirlmere – a great advert for the reservoir and the recreation opportunities on the surrounding estate. It’s going to be a brilliant event, and as a major investor in Cumbria, we’re proud to be involved.”
Councillor Keith Little, Cumbria County Council Cabinet member for Highways and Transport, said: “The Tour of Britain is one of the country’s biggest sporting events, so I’m absolutely delighted it’s coming back to Cumbria. Few can forget the images of devastation to the county’s roads and bridges last winter, so I’m particularly pleased the route will take in many of our communities affected by the floods and includes many of the repaired roads and bridges. The Tour of Britain gives us a golden opportunity to show a worldwide television audience that Cumbria is very much open for business and bouncing back.”
Lynn Bewley, Communications & External Affairs Manager for University of Cumbria, said: “The University of Cumbria is delighted to be one of the sponsors supporting the Tour of Britain this year. This high profile event will once again focus attention on Cumbria, but this time for its wonderful scenery and the array of opportunities it has to offer. The route passes near two of our campuses – Carlisle and Ambleside – and you can be certain our staff and students will be out in force cheering on the cyclists as they race by.”
Cllr Anne Quilter, Carlisle City Council Portfolio holder for Culture, Heritage & Leisure said: “We look forward to providing a warm welcome to the Tour of Britain competitors and supporters this autumn. As the stage two start, we’re expecting Carlisle to attract thousands of spectators as well as the city being showcased to a global audience. Carlisle and other parts of Cumbria were badly affected by the December storms and the Tour of Britain will send a clear message that ‘Cumbria is open for business’ and provide a boost to hard hit businesses and communities across the county.”
Councillor David Fletcher, South Lakeland District Council portfolio holder for the Environment, said: “I’m delighted that the Tour of Britain will be returning to South Lakeland this year. Residents have endured some of the most difficult times in recent memory due to December’s floods, but hosting this event will send a clear message that we are open for business. Last time the Tour was here more than 15,000 people lined the streets in Kendal to cheer on the riders at the 2013 stage finish and this year’s stage will once again finish in Kendal but will also pass through Grasmere, Ambleside, Windermere and Bowness. The 2013 event created a real interest in cycling, with a surge in the number of people who took up the activity. That is great to see as here at the council we are actively working to encourage more people to get on their bikes.’’
Councillor Kevin Beaty, Leader of Eden District Council, said: “We are pleased to be an official partner again for the Tour of Britain as we recognise the valuable economic impact and benefits to local communities that it brings. We are encouraging communities in Eden to celebrate the race passing through by giving grants again to support community events and hope that Eden will embrace the Tour of Britain as it did last year.”
Councillor Celia Tibble, Mayor of Allerdale, said: “I’m thrilled to see the Tour of Britain returning to Cumbria. The people of Allerdale gave it a fantastic welcome when we hosted a stage start last year and I’m sure they will do us proud again. It’s also a welcome boost to businesses who are still getting back on their feet after the floods. Hopefully the Tour will have a lasting legacy by encouraging more people to get out on their bike and explore our fabulous countryside. We are after all the perfect place for cycling – with undulating coastal routes, fantastic and well-maintained Sustrans cycle ways including the C2C, terrific hills to challenge even the pros and of course the world-beating mountain bike trails.”
Richard Leafe, Chief Executive of Lake District National Park Authority, said: “It’s fantastic to welcome the Tour of Britain back in the Lake District and showcase the stunning landscape of Cumbria as a cycling destination. It couldn’t have come at a better time to show the world that Cumbria is open.”
The Cumbria stage of the Tour of Britain is sponsored by the following organisations: United Utilities, Carlisle City Council, Allerdale Borough Council, Eden District Council, South Lakeland District Council, University of Cumbria, Lake District National Park Authority and Cumbria County Council.