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Britain’s biggest professional cycle race returns to Cumbria this September and this year Carlisle is set to take centre stage as the blue riband cycling event returns to the city after a seven year absence.
Carlisle is busy preparing to host the start of Stage Four of the race on the morning of Wednesday 12th September, which will see a host of top international cyclists battle it out alongside the hero of this summer’s Tour de France and London 2012 Games, Gold Medal winner Bradley Wiggins and serial Tour de France stage-winner Mark Cavendish, the reigning world road champion for the number one spot.
To mark the return of the Tour to the city an all-day celebration of cycling is planned and will include free cycling activities for all ages and abilities as well as a whole host of interactive stalls and attractions to show case what Carlisle and Cumbria as a whole has to offer cyclists.
The race stage begins with a warm up at 9am in Greenmarket, outside the Old Town Hall, with the race start planned for 11.00am. Cyclists will then head along Scotch Street, West Tower Street, Dacre Road and Devonshire Walk onto Castle Way before leaving the city along Wigton Road.
The 156km - 97mile stage will then see the peloton head south along the A6 through Penrith and on towards Thrimby where the road begins to climb slowly as it nears the Lake District National Park boundary.
Before the serious climbs begin Shap village will be the location for the first Yodel Sprint and then a few kilometers later the riders will test themselves against the first SKODA King of the Mountains climb over 5.5miles, climbing 1350ft / 411m to Shap Summit, followed the long and fast decent into Kendal where the second Yodel Sprint will take place outside the town’s rugby club, before following the River Kent through the town and climbing away from the town centre towards Oxenholme and beyond for the second SKODA King of the Mountains climb over 8.2 miles, climbing 820ft / 250m to Old Hutton along the B6254. After which the route levels off as it passes back over the M6 towards Old Town before descending into the Lune Valley and Kirkby Lonsdale. After crossing Devil’s Bridge the tour heads into Lancashire and travels via Tunstall, Melling, Hornby, Claughton and on to Caton for the final Yodel Sprint and a last chance for bonus seconds before the Blackpool finish.
Cumbrian Timings: (All times based upon fastest race ETA)
START: City Centre, Carlisle
Yodel Sprint, Shap (outside Primary School)
SKODA KoM, Shap Fell (Cat.2)
Yodel Sprint, Kendal (outside rugby club)
SKODA KoM, Old Hutton (Cat.2)
Feed Zone, Old Town
Tour teams to watch:
Endura Racing - Britain's leading UCI Continental squad have been a fixture of the top ten of the team standings in the UCI Europe Tour since the start of the season, as well as dominant domestically in the Premier Calendar.
Node4 – Giordana Racing the team from Stoke-on-Trent return for their fifth Tour of Britain with a number of new riders in line to make their Tour of Britain debut.
Rapha Condor - They head into this year's Tour with different aims thanks to the team's focus on youth in 2012. Many of the team's established stars having moved on but double Olympic Gold medalist Ed Clancy remains.
Sky Procycling - Britain's only team competing at UCI World Tour level will come into their home race on the high of their best season yet, having dominated the Tour de France to make Bradley Wiggins the first ever British winner of the race.
Team IG – Sigma Sport racing under their new name Sigma Sport contains a mix of youth and experience as they approach their third Tour of Britain, with their best yet chance of success.
Team Raleigh – GAC return for their third Tour of Britain since the famous name
returned to the sport in their best position yet for a good result, mainly thanks to the addition of last year's Skoda King of the Mountains contender Russell Hampton.
Team UK Youth - The sole British debutants in this year's Tour, Team UK Youth is racing at the UCI Continental level in only their second year in the sport.
Cumbria is one of the quietest, most rural counties in England; it has the Lake District National Park, the rolling hills of the Eden Valley, quiet coastlines to the west and hidden villages galore - all perfect for exploration by bike. In short, it is possibly Britain's best and most varied cycling destination with thousands of miles of routes just waiting to be explored. To find out more about cycling in Cumbria log onto www.golakes.co.uk/onwheels You can also find out about the all new GoLakes Travel project, which is expanding Cumbria’s Electric Bike network to make cycling even more accessible for all, simply visit www.golakestravel.co.uk/bybike to find out more.
Ian Stephens, Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, said: "We’re delighted to be welcoming back the Tour of Britain. Events such as this are a great way of stimulating interest in the area which in turn can help support the local economy and often tourism businesses. Visitors are drawn into the area and quite often spend in local shops, restaurants, cafes and services, as well as on accommodation. The Tour of Britain is a prestigious cycling event and would also prove a spectacle for residents, cyclists, supporters of the race and participants."
He added; “It is an important year for British sport and it is important that we are involved, this event means Cumbria will be once again showcased to a global audience and we’re thrilled to be part of an exciting event that attracts thousands of spectators”.
Carlisle City Council, one of the main Stage 4 partners, has welcomed the return of The Tour to the city. Leader of Carlisle City Council, Cllr Joe Hendry, said: “Following on from the success of the Olympic Torch Relay visit to Carlisle, we’re delighted to be welcoming another major sporting event to the city. Carlisle will once again be showcased to a global audience and we’re thrilled to be part of an exciting event that attracts thousands of spectators. We look forward to providing a warm welcome to The Tour of Britain competitors and supporters.”
To find out more about the Carlisle Stage 4 start visit www.discovercarlisle.co.uk To find out more about cycling in Cumbria visit www.golakes.co.uk/onwheels for more information about the Tour of Britain visit www.tourofbritain.com