Cumbria secured an economic boost of nearly £11m from holding two stages of the OVO Energy Tour of Britain in September.

This is the best-ever figure for Cumbria, and represents a huge increase on the £5m economic benefit the county enjoyed when it last hosted the Tour of Britain in 2016.

Accommodation providers, retailers and transport operators were among many Cumbrian businesses to reap the benefits of the race, according to independently compiled analysis of the economic benefits of The Tour.

Cumbria became the first county in The Tour’s history to host two full stages of the race in September. Stage 5 featured a Team Time Trial from Cockermouth to Whinlatter and Stage 6 saw riders race along a 105-mile route from Barrow to Whinlatter, sponsored by BAE Systems.

Key economic findings

  • 240,000 spectators across the two stages.
  • 1.5m viewers watched ITV4’s coverage of the two stages.
  • Up to 60% of all visitors came from outside Cumbria and 48% stayed overnight.
  • Average spend by overnight visitors was up to £133.17 per group.
  • Up to 93% of visitors described the race as “very enjoyable”.
  • Up to 61% said they were inspired to cycle more often.

Stage Six highlights

Highlights from Stage Six of the 2018 OVO Energy Tour of Britain, a challenging 168.3km stage through the Lake District from Barrow-in-Furness to Whinlatter, won by Team Sky’s Wout Poels. Click here for a full stage report.

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Reaction to findings

The Tour of Britain is British Cycling’s premier road cycling race and Cumbria County Council was delighted to host two full stages of the 2018 race, working with stakeholder partners and organisers SweetSpot.

Cllr Keith Little, Cumbria County Council cabinet member for Highways and Transport, said: “The Tour of Britain has once again delivered many benefits to Cumbria – boosting the local economy to the tune of more than £11m, giving people two truly memorable days and encouraging more cycling in the county.

“Hosting two full stages of the race was a big coup for Cumbria and was a wonderful opportunity to showcase our wonderful county to a worldwide television audience. It was also fantastic to see so many schools getting involved in the Tour of Britain this year and we hope the race has inspired more people to take up cycling

“The Tour of Britain is one of the biggest sporting events in the country and bringing the race to Cumbria for two days was a real team effort, with delivery partners and sponsors all supporting what was another excellent sporting spectacle.”

BAE Systems Submarines Human Resources Director Paul Ethell said: “It was a real boost when tour organisers picked Barrow as the starting point for the Cumbrian stage and we are proud to have been the official sponsor.

“Hosting the Tour of Britain gave us the opportunity to give something back to the town and local community. Our Company and the people of Barrow have a long history of working alongside each other to achieve great things.

“Cumbria is a great place to live and work and the event helped showcase to visitors and TV viewers just what a fantastic area of the country we live in.”

Mick Bennett, Tour of Britain Race Director, said: “The two Cumbrian stages of the 2018 OVO Energy Tour of Britain were among the best we’ve seen since the race was relaunched in 2004. The challenging terrain tackled by the world’s best riders, the stunning landscapes and sheer number of people who lined the route over the two days meant that the race had a carnival-like atmosphere, something that the professionals commented on and also came across to the millions of TV viewers around the world.

“I cannot thank Cumbria County Council and our local stakeholders and partners enough for the way they supported this year’s event. The success of the two stages owes a lot to their dedication and enthusiasm over a number of months, as well as the 240,000 fans who were loud and passionate from the first mile to the last!”