Northumberland takes centre stage for national cycle race

01 July 2015

Route plans for the prestigious Friends Life Tour of Britain cycle race have been announced today (Tuesday 23 June)

Including details of two exciting Northumberland stages – full Northumberland route details can be found at

On stage 4 of the tour, the race will start in Scotland and then enter Northumberland heading along a route from Ford, where a King of the Mountains competition will take place, to Wooler and Alnwick, before continuing down the spectacular Northumberland coastline to finish the leg in Blyth.

The tour re-starts the following morning from Prudhoe with stage 5, where the race will include a Sprint that will take place in Hexham and King of the Mountains will climb from Haydon Bridge to Hadrian’s Wall, the race will then head across the Pennines into Cumbria before ending in a summit finish on Hartside Fell.

The eight-stage race runs from 6-13 September with the Northumberland stages taking place on Wednesday 9 and Thursday 10 September.

Northumberland County Council has worked with Active Northumberland, sponsors Northumbrian Water and race organisers SweetSpot to bring the race to Northumberland.

Grant Davey, leader of Northumberland County Council, said: “The race will be a celebration of Northumberland which is a fabulous place to live in, visit and to cycle in. It will showcase our communities, heritage and iconic landmarks and it is a chance for us all to enjoy a wonderful international sporting spectacle.”

Some of the world’s top cyclists are expected to turn up to compete. Last year the UK’s favourites Sir Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish were in the starting line-up.

Mick Bennett, Race Director of event organisers SweetSpot said: “

The routes were announced at the Northumberland Sainsbury’s School Games Festivals where 2,000 young people were competing to become county champions in a range of sports. Professional cyclists from the Tour came along to coach pupils interested in cycling.

Cramlington Sporting Club hosted the event, and Marie-Anne Dowson, School Sport Partnership Manager, Cramlington & Seaton Valley School Sport Partnership said: “It is great that we can bring the launch of the Tour of Britain to the Northumberland School Games.

“Young people across Northumberland have competed in local competitions to reach these finals so it’s a very exciting day. Having the pro-tour cyclists here is a great opportunity for the students to learn what it takes to be successful in sport and it’s a great way to inspire the next generation of stars.”

The School Games is part of a national Sport England programme designed to increase competitive opportunities for young people in school. The School Games Organisers include Northumberland Sport and National Governing Bodies of Sport.

David Hall, Head of Leisure, Strategy and Transformation at Northumbrian Water said:
“Northumbrian Water works hard to support events that benefit the economy of the North East and as the Tour of Britain passes through what we consider one of the best cycling counties in the UK, it will help to boost regional tourism and showcase Northumberland to the rest of the world.

“As a business, we have a long association with cycling, both in terms of supporting races and providing opportunities for leisure cycling at our sites and we’re delighted to be able to help bring this elite sporting event right here to our region.”

The Tour will be broadcast in over 166 countries, including live coverage on the ITV network, and will raise the profile of the county to an international audience.

Bruce Ledger, Chief Executive of Active Northumberland, said: “Cycling is a sport that is very accessible. It is a relatively cheap sport to take part in and we have some excellent cycling routes in the county so it would be great to see more people get on their bikes to keep fit.”

Councillor Anne Dale, Chair of the Council’s Walking and Cycling Board, said: “The world’s greatest cyclists will ride through the beautiful and wild landscape of west Northumberland on Stage 5 of the Tour of Britain. It’s going to be challenging for the riders and a very exciting day for spectators as the cyclists race through the county’s towns and villages passing landmarks such as the River Tyne, Hexham Abbey and the world-renowned Hadrian’s Wall.”

The race will go through 29 communities in Northumberland over the two days, covering approximately 112miles (181kms) in the county over two days of racing.

Northumberland has a strong network of cycling clubs and events, from mass participation sportifs such as the Virgin Money Cyclone in the south of the County, to the Wooler Wheel in the north, and professional races such as the Tour of the Reservoir and Beaumont Trophy, and spectacular long distance cycle paths including the C2C and the Sandstone Way.

ITV will screen three-hours of live coverage of every stage, starting on ITV for the opening Wales stage before reverting to ITV4 for Stages Two to Eight. ITV4 will also screen a one-hour highlights programme each evening during the race.

After the Stage Five finish on Hartside Fell, the Friends Life Tour of Britain will include stages in the Peak District, between Stoke-on-Trent and Nottingham, and Norfolk and Suffolk, before a final stage in the heart of London, starting and finishing on Regent Street St James.

For full information, please visit:

Media contact: Carl Stiansen, communications officer, Northumberland County Council,
Phone: 01670 622414 or email:

Starting from Edinburgh, Stage Four will head through East Lothian and the Scottish Borders, before heading to Wooler, Alnwick, Warkworth, Amble, Ashington, Bedlington, Cramlington, Seaton Delaval and the spectacular Northumberland coastline, with the finish coming in Blyth.

Stage Five departs from Prudhoe heading through Riding Mill, Hexham, Haydon Bridge before tracing Hadrian’s Wall as the tour crosses the Pennines and returns to Cumbria finishing at Hartside Fell.

Active Northumberland: is a charitable leisure and cultural trust that manages leisure facilities and services, libraries, supports culture, helps to develop tourism, and promotes healthy lifestyles. For more information, please visit

Northumberland Sport is a Sports Partnership comprising a range of statutory and non-statutory organisations and a wider network of stakeholders, all of whom contribute to the strategic direction and operational activities of the Partnership. The fundamental aim is to increase participation in sport and physical activity and partners include Sport England, Northumberland County Council, Public Health, Active Northumberland, National Governing Bodies of Sport and Schools. Please visit for more information.  

For more information about the School Games and for your local School Games Organiser contact details, please visit the Northumberland Sport website at

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