A guide to the Tour of Britain for the uninitiated

This summer, cycling heroes such as Bradley Wiggins and Chris Hoy brought the games and cycling in particular to the forefront of many people’s attention, through exciting performances. Even the traditionally less popular events such as the BMX racing has had people checking out the latest BMX bikes, with bike shop retailers reporting a jump in sales. This excitement has the opportunity to continue both through the Paralympics, which starts on the 29th of August, and the Tour of Britain, which starts on the 9th of September.

For the uninitiated, there’s a lot to wrap your head around with the Tour of Britain, so here’s the London Cyclist’s guide.

Tour of Britain Stages

Tour of Britain stages

The Tour of Britain website provides details on each stage, along with maps. You can also visit the site to find out estimates times that riders will pass certain sections, this is great if you plan on grabbing a good viewing spot along the route.

Here’s an overview of each one:

  1. Sunday 9th: Ipswitch to Norfolk Showground, 203km. This is the longest stage of the Tour of Britain. A festival has been setup for spectators at the Norfolk Showground, which will allow you to taste local food and drink.
  2. Monday 10th: Nottingham to Knowsley Safari Park, 180.7km. A far more mountainous stage that will bring out the climbers.
  3. Tuesday 11th: Jedburgh to Dumfries Whitesands, 161.4km. A popular stage for spectators with the three laps of the last section through Dumfries.
  4. Wednesday 12th: Carlisle to Blackpool, 156km. Featuring a couple of Category 1 (Hardest) climbs through the Lake District, this won’t be an easy stage.
  5. Thursday 13th: Stoke-on-Trent, 147km. With some tough inclines of up to 25%, this will be a good stage for a breakaway by the best hill climbers.
  6. Friday 14th: Welshpool to Caerphilly, 189.6km. Setting off from the magnificent Powis Castle in Welshpool, riders will need all the inspiration they can get on this lengthy stage. The Brecon Becons stand imposingly on their way to the finish line.
  7. Saturday 15th: Barnstaple to Dartmouth, 170.7km. For those down in Devon, this is an excellent opportunity to catch the cyclists powering through this stage.
  8. Sunday 16th: Reigate to Guildford, 147.8km. The final stage will be held this year in Guildford. Box Hill won’t be featuring in the race, but many other popular climbs for local cyclists and London cyclists who like to take a day out of the big smoke.

Ride a stage of the Tour of Britain

In the run up to the event, it’s common to see cyclists taking on a stage of the Tour. You can either do this through the official route or by simply grabbing your bike and a copy of the map. Take a look at TourRide for more info on the organised route.

Teams to look out for


In the Tour of Britain, each team has six riders. Here are some of the key teams to look out for:

  • Team Sky has the big names that many people will be watching. However, victory is far from guaranteed as the team has many commitments in the coming months with racing season in full swing.
  • Raleigh GAC have been performing well in recent times and will be strong contenders for victory.
  • Rapha Condor-Sharp, IG Sigma Sport and Endura Racing are three more teams that will be closely watched.

Will you be heading over to watch any of the stages?

Join 10,221 fellow cyclists who are subscribed to the London Cyclist newsletter

Sign up for our free newsletter to get...

  • Advice on the best cycling gear
  • A Friday roundup of all the latest London cycling news
  • Exclusive content not available on the blog

Subscribe today, and get exclusive access forever! (It's free)

*No spam, ever!

As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.

2 Responses to A guide to the Tour of Britain for the uninitiated

  1. Goonz 24/08/2012 at 10:27 am #

    I most definitely will try to get to the Guildford or Ipswich stage. Gutted there isn’t more going on closer to London but will be nice to catch a glimpse of the pros.

    Thanks Andreas for this brief intro, you read my mind, I was going to search up on the ToB just this weekend!

  2. Cycle Samuel 24/08/2012 at 2:30 pm #

    Can’t wait to see the team riding on our British roads. I plan on going to Carlisle on the 12th to see the start of that stage. Let’s hope Team Sky continue their success on home soil.

Leave a Reply