With under 50 days until the OVO Energy Tour of Britain comes back to Cumbria, full details of the route through the county and the main sponsors for the two Cumbria stages have been revealed.

At the official launch of the two stages of Britain’s premier road cycling event taking place in Cumbria, held at the Forestry Commission’s Whinlatter Forest Visitor Centre, BAE Systems and United Utilities were announced as the main sponsors for the Cumbria leg of the race.

Stage Five (Cockermouth to Whinlatter team time trial) of the OVO Energy Tour of Britain – will be held on Thursday 6 September and Stage Six (Barrow-in-Furness to Whinlatter) is on Friday 7 September.

The latter will include three Eisberg Sprints at Ulverston, Ambleside and Cockermouth, plus SKODA King of the Mountains climbs at Hawkshead Hill, Dunmail Raise, Fangs Brow and Whinlatter – the latter of which is climbed twice.

Cumbria County Council has agreed to host two stages of the 2018 race with the organisers SweetSpot and will be working with local delivery partners to make the most of the event.

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Cliff Robson, BAE Systems Submarines Managing Director, said: “We are delighted to be supporting such a prestigious national sporting event, taking place right here in the heart of our community. There can’t be many places more challenging or beautiful to cycle than Cumbria, so it’s great the tour organisers have picked Barrow as the starting point for one of the stages. I’m sure the community will be out in the force to support the race, making it a memorable day for the town and visitors alike.”

John Hilton, West Cumbria project director for water company United Utilities, one of the main sponsors for the Cumbrian stages, said: “We’re thrilled that the tour is coming to Cumbria again. It’s a fantastic opportunity to showcase this unique part of the world and 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.”

Tim Oliver of the Forestry Commission, which is hosting the race at Whinlatter, said: “Whinlatter has world class facilities and hosting the two Tour of Britain stage finishes extends our offer and enable us to promote the site to a worldwide audience; it’s creating a real buzz of excitement at the moment.”

Cllr Keith Little, Cumbria County Council Cabinet member for Transport, said: “We’re thrilled that Cumbria has been chosen for two stages of the Tour of Britain. Nowhere else in the country has been given this honour before and it’s a real coup for Cumbria. This is a huge opportunity for us to make the most of this from a tourist and economic perspective, and also to get even more people interested and enthused about cycling. We’ll be working with our district partners, schools, Cumbria Tourism, Lake District National Park, Forestry Commission, BAE Systems, United Utilities and also local businesses to make the most of this fantastic opportunity.”

Mick Bennett, Race Director of OVO Energy Tour of Britain Race Director organisers SweetSpot said: “We are delighted to be returning to Cumbria with the OVO Energy Tour of Britain and are especially excited this year to be bringing two days of racing to the area.  Cumbria and the Lake District has provided some of the most memorable moments in recent Tour history thanks to its combination of stunning scenery, testing climbs and huge crowds and we are sure that we will see more of this across the 6 and 7 September.

“Wherever fans choose to watch over the two days they will be treated to some of the very best cycling action, but Whinlatter Pass is sure to be the mecca for cycling fans across the north of the country with the riders tackling the climb three times across the two stages.”