A very lumpy Tour of Britain this year with plenty of double-digit gradients to be tackled and the British public will be pleased to see another classic Lake District climb on the route. Even the short Bristol time trial is far from flat. There are too many climbs to list them all but here are the top bits of road where I think we’ll see the main action.
Stage 2 – The Struggle
4.5km, avg 8.4%, max 20%.
The aptly named “The Struggle” is tough right from the mini-roundabout in Ambleside but more importantly the road immediately narrows to a car’s width. The stage has been fairly hilly to that point but a large-ish group with the favourites might well arrive at this point together so positioning will be key:
After a very tough initial 1.3km there is a slight easing in the gradients before the steepest slopes (20%) now on the open fell-side. Fortunately this is relatively short lived and is followed with a proper rest and even a slight downhill but there is still a sting in the tail with the final 600m averaging 14.6%.
27 lumpy kilometres reamin to the finish but unless you’re in touching distance of the front guys at the top of The Struggle you’re going to be loosing important time on the GC.
Stage 6 – Haytor
6km, avg 6%, max 14%.
2013 saw Haytor’s introduction as a Tour of Britain summit finish and a young Simon Yates riding for the Great Britain team surprising the WorldTour riders by sprinting clear and taking the win. With Simon currently winning stages and holding a top 10 position in the Vuelta GC the door is open for a new winner atop Haytor for 2016.
The 2015 race saw Team Sky’s Woet Poels take the summit finish win on Cumbria’s Hartside Fell but an amazing effort by Edvald Boasson Hagen saw him retain his lead and take it all the way to London.
Stage 7a ITT – Bristol
14.3km, max 13%
A short (14.3km) individual time trial will really reward the punchy rider with a 1km 7% climb (max 13%) with 3km to the finish. This course has to have Tom Dumoulin’s name written all over it.