The 16th edition of the Tour of Britain starts in Glasgow on Saturday 7 September with the Grande Départ and concludes on the iconic Manchester Deansgate on Saturday 14 September.
Over the course of the week, the riders will endure 1,268km of riding spread over eight stages, including an individual time-trial.
This stage-by-stage breakdown will tell you what to expect and what to look out for each day, plus give you an insight into the history of each stage.
What is the route for the Tour of Britain 2019?
2019 Tour of Britain Stage 1: Glasgow to Kirkcudbright
- Date: 7 September
- Distance: 201.5km
- Did you know? Glasgow hosted the second Tour of Britain start (a crit) in 2005
- The ones to watch: British National Champion Ben Swift will relish a finish like this
Glasgow hosts the Tour for the sixth time in its modern history, consolidating its position as one of the UK’s premier road cycling venues on the back of hosting the 2014 Commonwealth Games road race and last year’s European championships.
After a circuit of the city centre, the route heads south across the River Clyde through Renfrewshire, East Ayrshire and South Ayrshire before finishing in Kirkcudbright in Dumfries and Galloway.
Along the way it will skirt the ‘Ayrshire Alps’ — a playground for local roadies — and take in two testing climbs at Lambdoughty Hill and Dalmellington.
The finish in Kirkcudbright will be the first time the Tour has ever visited this colourful fishing port and artists’ retreat.
Stage 1 highlights, times and route profile
- 0km: Depart Glasgow – 10:30
- 43.6km: Kilmarnock sprint – 11:47
- 102.7km: Cat 2 Lambdoughty Hill climb – 13:15
- 112.5km: Dalmellington sprint – 13:25
- 112.9km: Cat 2 Dalmellington climb – 13:35
- 128.7km: Carsphairn sprint – 13:48
- 186.0km: Cat 3 Bankhead climb – 15:14
- 201.5km: Arrive in Kirkcudbright – 15:32
2019 Tour of Britain stage 2: Kelso to Kelso
- Date: 8 September
- Distance: 165.9km
- Did you know: Kelso hosted the opening stage in 2017, with Caleb Ewan coming out on top
- The ones to watch: Another one for the sprinters, and Caleb Ewan is riding
Though Scottish fans north of the Central belt often complain that the Tour of Britain never visits their part of the world, fans in the Borders have been regularly spoiled with stage starts and finishes.
This year, for the first time, an entire stage will be raced within the region, starting and finishing in the historic town of Kelso. This is also where Caleb Ewan won stage one in 2017.
Featuring three KoM climbs and three intermediate sprints, the anti-clockwise loop will take in Coldstream, Chirnside, Duns, Scott’s View, Melrose and the Eildon Hills before a fast run back alongside the River Tweed to a cobbled finish.
It’s the second shortest non-time-trial stage of the race. The final stage — starting in Altrincham — is 1.5km shorter.
Stage 2 highlights, times and route profile
- 0km: Depart Kelso – 11:00
- 13.2km: Coldstream sprint – 11:33
- 67.1km: Cat 2 Hardens Hill climb – 12:54
- 74.9km: Duns sprint – 13:02
- 127.9km: Cat 2 Scott’s View climb – 14:20
- 140.0km: Melrose sprint – 14:35
- 140.5km: Cat 2 Dingleton climb – 14:39
- 165.9km: Arrive in Kelso – 15:12
2019 Tour of Britain stage 3: Berwick-upon-Tweed to Newcastle-upon-Tyne
- Date: 9 September
- Distance: 183.2km
- Did you know? This is the first Tour of Britain visit to Newcastle in a decade
- The ones to watch: A sprinter/puncheur such as Michael Matthews is likely to win
Stage three promises to be memorable for a range of reasons: the brand new start town in Berwick-upon-Tweed, some stunning Northumberland scenery, and the possibility of crosswinds as the route hugs the North Sea coast for an intermediate sprint at Seahouses.
The three KoM climbs at Ford Common, Lyham Moor and Longhoughton all come during the first half of the stage.
After passing through Whitley Bay, Tynemouth, North Shields and Wallsend, the race will head alongside the bank of the River Tyne on Newcastle’s Quayside before a dramatic uphill finish in the centre of a city hosting the Tour for the third time.
Stage 3 highlights, times and route profile
- 0km: Depart Berwick-upon-Tweed – 11:00
- 21.4km: Cat 3 Ford Common climb – 11:45
- 40.7km: Cat 3 Weetwood Bank climb – 12:13
- 47.2km: Cat 2 Lyham Hill climb – 12:22
- 67.2km: Seahouses sprint – 12:51
- 105.6km: Warkworth sprint – 13:45
- 155.2km: Seaton Delaval sprint – 14:56
- 183.2km: Arrive in Newcastle-upon-Tyne – 15:36
2019 Tour of Britain stage 4: Gateshead to Kendal
- Date: 10 September
- Distance: 173.2km
- Did you know? This is the third finish that Kendal has staged since 2013
- The ones to watch: Ineos’ Tao Geoghegan Hart has the climbing talent for this
This is the hardest stage with the race’s highest point being reached at the summit of Bollihope Common in the heart of the North Pennines, an 8.8km climb with a gentle gradient that tops out at just over 500m above sea level.
Later on, the riders will face another KoM climb at Gawthorp in the Yorkshire Dales, before the stage reaches Kendal in the Lake District and a gruelling, 500m uphill slog to the finish line that nudges a gradient of 11 percent.
In total, riders will have accumulated around 3,000m of climbing during the day as they cross from east to west, and we could see the first significant gaps in the general classification start to appear.
Stage 4 highlights, times and route profile
- 0km: Depart Gateshead – 11:00
- 12.5km: Whickham sprint – 11:32
- 33.2km: Cat 2 Snods Edge climb – 12:08
- 58.0km: Cat 1 Bollihope Common climb – 12:37
- 105.9km: Kirkby Stephen sprint – 13:46
- 127.9km: Sedbergh sprint – 14:17
- 138.0km: Cat 3 Gawthorp climb – 14:32
- 173.2km: Arrive in Kendal – 15:22
2019 Tour of Britain stage 5: Birkenhead to Birkenhead
- Date: 11 September
- Distance: 174.1km
- Did you know? Matt Bostock of Canyon dhb won the Tour Series round here
- The ones to watch: Continental team Canyon dhb has bossed the British scene this season
The Wirral peninsula hosts the Tour for the first time in recognition of this being its year as Liverpool City Region’s Borough of Culture.
Starting and finishing in the emblematic Birkenhead Park, the route will take riders through the beautiful model village of Port Sunlight and past one of the UK’s most historic cycling cafes, the Eureka Cafe near Chester, which dates back to 1929.
The route then returns to Birkenhead via West Kirby and Hoylake (Chris Boardman’s birthplace). It will cross the finish line once before completing a circuit that includes a fast stretch along the banks of the River Mersey through Seacombe, Wallasey and New Brighton.
Stage 5 highlights, times and route profile
- 0km: Depart Birkenhead Park – 11:00
- 78.6km: Cat 2 Kelsall Hill climb – 13:07
- 117.2km: Heswall sprint – 14:02
- 130.1km: Hoylake sprint – 14:20
- 140.2km: Cat 3 Flaybrick Hill climb – 14:35
- 144.0km: Birkenhead Park sprint (first passage) – 14:40
- 170.2km: Cat 3 Flaybrick Hill climb (x2) – 15:18
- 174.1km: Arrive in Birkenhead Park – 15:23
2019 Tour of Britain stage 6: Pershore to Pershore
- Date: 12 September
- Distance: 14.4km — Individual time-trial
- Did you know? Two times since 2014 the winner of the time trial has won the race
- The ones to watch: Tao Geoghegan Hart (Team Ineos) is a very strong time-trialist
On to the individual time-trial stage, which for many cycling fans is an excuse for a snooze, but for the host town, it’s a bonanza.
Instead of the peloton steaming through in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it blur of sponsors’ logos, the whole Tour circus pitches camp on your doorstep for most of the day giving fans unparalleled access to their heroes.
So when the Tour descends upon the riverside Worcestershire market town of Pershore it will offer spectators a close-up view of how the world’s best riders operate.
If you pick the right spot on the undulating circuit that passes through Little Comberton and Bricklehampton you’ll get your share of dramatic, pain faces too, because the route is not the simple, flat, out-and-back TT route familiar to regulars of the midweek club TT up and down the local dual carriageway.
Stage 6 highlights, times and route profile
- 0km: Depart Pershore – 13:01 (first rider) / 15:05 (last rider)
- 14.4km: Arrive in Pershore – 13:21 (first rider) / 15:25 (last rider)
2019 Tour of Britain stage 7: Warwick to Burton Dassett
- Date: 13 September
- Distance: 188.7km
- Did you know? Matt Holmes tops the standings of the National Road Series in 2019
- The ones to watch: A rider such as Tony Gallopin (AG2R) could ride to victory
You may recognise the roads on this stage from the Women’s Tour in June. Host county Warwickshire is getting its money’s worth by using largely the same route for the men’s race.
After the start in Warwick, the riders will pass through the University, Kenilworth and Meriden.
The name of this sleepy village in the heart of England may not ring any bells, but it is the home of the National Cyclists’ Memorial, which commemorates riders who lost their lives in the two World Wars.
After this, the riders will climb Sun Rising Hill before beginning two 12km loops of Burton Dassett and Farnborough that will include three ascents of a challenging 1.7km, 4.9 percent average gradient climb.
Brit Matt Holmes of Madison-Genesis was first to crest this climb during last year’s Warwickshire stage, which ended in Leamington Spa with André Greipel winning a bunch sprint.
Stage 7 route profile, highlights and times
- 0km: Depart Warwick – 11:00
- 19.0km: Berkswell sprint – 11:38
- 80.8km: Brinklow sprint – 13:07
- 134.6km: Cat 3 Friz Hill climb – 14:24
- 142.0km: Pillerton Priors sprint – 14:35
- 149.6km: Cat 2 Sun Rising Hill climb – 14:45
- 163.4km: Cat 2 Burton Dassett climb (first passage) – 15:05
- 175.2km: Cat 2 Burton Dassett climb (second passage) – 15:23
- 188.7km: Arrive in Burton Dassett Country Park – 15:41
2019 Tour of Britain stage 8: Altrincham to Manchester
- Date: 14 September
- Distance: 166km
- Did you know? Manchester hosted the first stage of the modern Tour of Britain in 2004
- The ones to watch: The leader, with a tougher job than usual defending the jersey
In a welcome break from tradition, the Tour eschews its usual finish in the southern half of the UK and caters for fans north of the M25.
There’s a whole section on the Tour’s official website that explains how the route and host towns are chosen, and a maximum average stage length of 240km is just one of the UCI rules that organisers have to consider, as well as how much host towns are prepared to pay.
But surely no one can begrudge Manchester, home of British Cycling, its second appearance as a host city.
The parcours itself is far from a ceremonial procession to the finish with enough lumps, bumps, and challenging climbs — amounting to almost 2,000m of elevation — to keep everyone on their guard.
The finishing straight on Deansgate in the heart of the city centre promises a spectacular finale to the previous eight days’ racing.
Stage 8 highlights, times and route profile
- 0km: Depart Altrincham – 11:00
- 23.5km: Hazel Grove sprint – 11:48
- 39.2km: Cat 2 Werneth Low climb – 12:11
- 58.3km: Uppermill sprint – 12:38
- 64.6km: Cat 2 Grains Bar climb – 12:47
- 94.2km: Cat 1 Ramsbottom Rake climb – 13:29
- 123.1km: Horwich sprint – 14:10
- 166.0km: Arrive in Manchester – 15:12