Cumbria will celebrate the return of world-class professional cycling this September with two stages of the prestigious Aviva Tour of Britain taking place in the county – the first time Cumbria has welcomed the race for more than one day.

To celebrate 30-days until the Stage Five finish at the summit of Hartside, riders from JLT Condor presented by Mavic checked out the route from Prudhoe in Northumberland across the Pennines to the iconic climb above Melmerby in the Eden District.

""Former SKODA King of the Mountains Kristian House led teammates Graham Briggs, Mike Cuming and Richard Handley through the Eden District, past the bunting and yellow bikes in Langwathby and Melmerby onto the eight-kilometre climb, which will be the focal point of Stage Five on Thursday 10 September.

Two days before the race heads to Hartside on Tuesday 8 September, the Georgian gem town of Cockermouth will be transformed to welcome the start of Stage Three, which heads to Floors Castle outside Kelso in the Scottish Borders.

The route will take 120 of the world’s top riders through Maryport and Silloth, including a section of cobbles in the latter, with two intermediate YodelDirect Sprints, sponsored by parcel delivery company Yodel, in Abbeytown and on the Wigton Road heading into Carlisle before heading into Scotland at Gretna. 

You can view an interactive Ordnance Survey map of Stage Three as well as downloading an ETA, profile and stage map here and check out the same for Stage Five here.

The last time the race was held in the county was in 2013, when it started in Carlisle and finished in Kendal after passing through the heart of the Lake District, including the packed crowds of Honister Pass. That stage was described by commentators as the ‘best ever’ stage of the race and generated £4.1m for the local economy.

Commenting on the return of Britain’s biggest professional cycle race, Cumbria County Council Vice-Chairman Cllr Geoff Cook said:

“This is a fantastic opportunity for Cumbria to showcase its magnificent landscape and enthusiastic communities on a national and international platform on not one, but two different days. It’s going to be an incredible week, and we look forward to reaping the benefits from the event not just in terms of the economy, but in the legacy benefits of promoting healthy physical activity and sustainable travel.”

In addition to the day’s final climb to Hartside, riders will also tackle two further SKODA King of the Mountains climbs in Cumbria; at Croglin, just before Lazonby and at Brocklemoor near Plumpton.  Brampton and Penrith will also host YodelDirect Sprints

Eden District Council’s Leader, Councillor Kevin Beaty said: “Eden District already has a fantastic reputation as a destination for outdoor activities and the Aviva Tour of Britain coming here gives us a shop window to show off the countless opportunities here for visitors and local people to enjoy. For more information about cycling in the District visit www.visiteden.co.uk.  

“I am very proud of the enthusiasm our communities and businesses are showing for the Aviva Tour of Britain, we have yellow bikes and knitted yellow sweaters popping up all over the District! Having the Aviva Tour of Britain in Eden is going to be a very special day.”

""Stage Five will finish atop the climb of Hartside, which averages 5% over its 7.9-kilometres ascent to 1,903-feet. Hartside follows in the wheel tracks of previous summit finishes in the race, Haytor in Devon (2013) and the Tumble in Monmouthshire (2014), and will become the longest and highest summit finish used in the race.

Kathryn Renwick, owner of the Hartside Café that sits alongside the Stage Five finish line, said: “We’re delighted about the prospect of the Aviva Tour of Britain coming to visit us. The thought of welcoming thousands of people up here is an exciting, and slightly scary, one!”

You can check out a video previewing the Hartside route here.

Further advice for spectators heading to Cockermouth or Hartside to watch the 2015 Aviva Tour of Britain, including travel and parking information will be available on www.tourofbritain.co.uk from the end of the week.

Both stages will be shown on ITV4 with three hours of live coverage from 1pm to 4pm, while a one-hour highlights programme will also be shown that evening on the same channel.  British Eurosport will also show the race in the UK with both live coverage and highlights.  Live coverage and highlights will also be shown worldwide in excess of 120 countries.

The Aviva Tour of Britain is British Cycling’s premier road cycling event giving cycling fans the opportunity to see the world’s best teams and riders competing on their door step.

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