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Cumbria’s Lake District Honister Pass provides sternest test yet

May 22, 2013

The route for The Tour of Britain’s first visit to the heart of the Lake District has been unveiled today (Wednesday 22nd May) at the top of Honister Pass, which will be one of the iconic locations on this year’s Tour of Britain route.

North West professionals Matt Cronshaw (Team IG Sigma Sport) and British Hill Climb Champion Jack Pullar (Madison Genesis) joined Tour of Britain organisers and officials from across Cumbriato reveal details of September’s stage.

The 1,167ft/356m pass, which features gradients of up to 25%, will be the centrepiece of the Cumbria, the Lake District Stage, Carlisleto Kendal on Monday 16th September.

Cllr David Southward, Cumbria County Council Cabinet member responsible for economic development said, "The Cumbrian stage will be a high point - in all senses - of this year's Tour. The excitement is building and Cumbrian schools and communities are already showing a great deal of interest. As the event gathers momentum, the benefits for the economy, the environment and people's health all snowball as people show an interest in cycling. The 16th of September will feel like a day of celebration for Cumbria, with a £3-4 million economic boost predicted from holding The Tour here."

Lake District National Park Authority Chief Executive, Richard Leafe, said: “Hosting the most challenging mountain stage of The Tour of Britain in one of the UK’s most dramatic landscapes, will provide a fantastic opportunity to position the Lake District as an exciting and awe inspiring place.

“It is also an excellent opportunity to encourage more people to take up cycling as a greener form of transport, whether they are a visitor or local, while enjoying the beauty and splendour that the Lake District National Park has to offer.”

A revised 186.6 kilometre route will take 100 of the world’s top cyclists from Carlisle toBritain’s Energy Coast and then through the Heart of the Lake District National Parkbefore concluding with the notorious uphill finish of Beast Banks in Kendal, last used in 2007.  In total riders will face over 3,000 metres of climbing during the leg.

In addition to Honister Pass, riders will also tackle SKODA King of the Mountains climbs at Mockerkin near Cockermouth and Chestnut Hill in Keswick, on what will be one of the toughest stages of the 2013 Tour of Britain.

Cumbrian cycling fans will also have the chance to see riders battling for the Yodel Sprints jersey, backed by leading delivery company Yodel, at three intermediate Yodel Sprints at Aspatria, Dearham, near Maryport, and Whitehaven.

The stage is organised in partnership with the Lake District National Park, Cumbria County Council, Carlisle City Council, South Lakeland District Council and Cumbria Tourism.

The Tour of Britain returns to Cumbria following last year’s sensational stage start in Carlisle, which attracted thousands of spectators.  Leader of Carlisle City Council, Cllr Joe Hendry, said:

“The Cumbria, the Lake District Stage will showcase Carlisle and neighbouring districts to a global audience. We’re thrilled to be hosting the Stage Start and plans are well underway to create an event that celebrates cycling. Last year’s Carlisle stage start resulted in a £2.37million boost to Carlisle’s local economy and we hope this year’s event will reap similar results. We look forward to providing a warm welcome to The Tour of Britain competitors and supporters.”

Richard Greenwood, Cumbria Tourism’s Head of Policy & Research said: ‘’Hosting a full leg of The Tour Of Britain, in Cumbria provides us with an excellent opportunity to showcase our beautiful County, the UK’s Adventure Capital both within the UK and Internationally. As a cycling destination Cumbria has so much to offer, with country lanes, quiet back roads and lots of National Cycle Network routes to explore, as well as more challenging off road routes over high fells and mountains.

“To have international cycling stars in our County for a full stage is a massive coup and will benefit the area in so many ways as well as showing the world what a beautiful place Cumbria is to explore on two wheels.”

The Tour of Britain gets underway in Peebles in the Scottish Borders on Sunday 15th September for the opening stage to Drumlanrig Castle in Dumfries & Galloway, providing an early opportunity for cycling fans in Cumbria and the Lake District to catch a glimpse of the world’s top riders racing in Britain.