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A guide to the Tour of Britain

Tour of Britain guide

There are eight days of racing at the Tour of Britain, and each day is different! Watch our race day explanation video to learn about what to expect when the UK’s most prestigious cycle event comes to your town.

There are eight days of racing at the Tour of Britain, and each day is different! Watch our race day explanation video to learn about what to expect when the UK’s most prestigious cycle event comes to your town.

From the very start of the day to ending with the battle for the stage win, find out how the event is delivered and how the racing unfolds out along the route.

Video: New to the Tour of Britain? Watch our explainer video guide to discover what the race is all about

Start area

At the start of each day’s stage, fans have a unique opportunity to get up close and meet riders. There is a team buses area where you can get autographs and selfies, as well as the chance to check out the latest bike equipment.

Before the riders start the stage, they all take part in the sign on ceremony. This is held on the main stage next to the start line.

There is lots to see and do before watching the racing set off. Be sure to get there early to not miss out.

Finish area

Our Tour Village is situated at the finish area. It is filled with lots of stalls and exhibits from our official partners and local businesses – offering a range of cycling products to buy, free giveaways food, drink and more!

At the finish area, you will be able to watch the battle for the stage win and see first-hand who crosses the finish line first.

There will then be a presentation ceremony where you can watch the stage winner be presented with their winner’s prize.

Additionally, you’ll see the current race leader in the general classification. This is the rider who has taken the lowest cumulative time to complete the stages so far – and will wear a special jersey. Often this leader will change throughout the week of racing. You’ll also see the sprints, King of the Mountains and other jerseys presented here.

On the final day, there is a special ceremony where the overall winners are presented with their prizes, jerseys and celebrate with champagne.

Tour of Britain guide

Photo: Fans flock in their thousands to each stage finish!

Teams and riders

Every year some of the world’s top riders and teams come to the UK to compete in the Tour of Britain. There are 20 teams that will compete in the 2020 Tour; find out more about them here.

On each team there are six riders – that’s 120 professionals on the start line of the opening stage. World champions, Tour de France winners and Olympians have all competed in the Tour of Britain over the years. This includes the likes of Sir Bradley Wiggins, Chris Froome, Mark Cavendish, Geraint Thomas.

Closer to race week after teams confirm their riders our rider list will be available to download here.

Race convoy

The race convoy is a collection of cars and motorbikes that accompany the professional cyclists across the stage. This includes police, National Escort Group (NEG) safety bikes, TV motorbikes, team cars, convoy cars, commissaires, judges and medical staff.

They will be split up ahead and at the back of the riders in order to facilitate safe riding conditions and safe road closure implementations.

Click here to learn how the convoy works to operate road closures as they move across the route.

Tour of Britain guide

Photo: The race convoy has many functions during the Tour, with its protection of riders and fans alike one of the most important 

Racing

When the riders meet 0KM (which you may hear referred to as “kilometre zero”) the race begins. Often this is when a small group of riders, typically from different teams, will attack off the front of the race and ride together to distance themselves from the main peloton – this is known as a breakaway.

Breakaways can vary in numbers. If there is a big group of breakaway riders, the main peloton behind may try to up their tempo in order to catch the break and not allow them to establish a strong time gap.

Out on the road, there is potential for lots to happen. Every team has a communication system where they can feed info from their team car to their riders and vice versa.

During the race, riders may encounter mechanical issues, such as flat tyres, broken chains, maybe a crash, which will require the team car to reach them and swiftly fix the problem – sometimes the rider may actually swap to a new bike to make sure they waste as little time as possible.

SKODA King of the Mountains

On every stage, there are designated SKODA King of the Mountains (KoM) sections. These key climbs are where riders compete for points towards the SKODA KoM jersey.

These are great places to watch the race. So riders are often going at their slowest when they are tackling the hardest climbs in Britain. You’ll be at the heart of the race and up close to the action.

Sprints

The race also features three intermediate sprints sections. Here riders contest points and time bonuses, so the action is fast and frantic.

The finish

As the race gets towards the end of the stage, the pace gets faster and faster. The peloton will try and catch riders from the breakaway and set up an exciting sprint finish.

Depending on the style of finish, there may be different approaches to tacking the stage win. It could be an uphill or hill-top finish, in which case the best climbers will come to the front and look to gain time on their rivals.

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Click for Stage Information

Stage 1 Map
Start
Penzance

End
Bodmin
Distance
TBC
Stage 2 Map
Start
Sherford

End
Exeter
Distance
TBC
Stage 3 Map
Start
Coming Soon

End
Coming Soon
Distance
Stage 4 Map
Start
Coming Soon

End
Coming Soon
Distance
Stage 5 Map
Start
Coming Soon

End
Coming Soon
Distance
Stage 6 Map
Start
Coming Soon

End
Coming Soon
Distance
Stage 7 Map
Start
Coming Soon

End
Coming Soon
Distance
Stage 8 Map
Start
Aberdeenshire

End
Aberdeen
Distance
TBC