The Tour of Britain has a very different character to the Tour de France, despite often being dubbed the “Tour de Britain”. We may not have the Alps on our doorstep, but we do have our fair share of hills. Here’s our pick of the four must-do climbs from the 2018 route, plus a few from previous editions of the race.
Appearing in Tour de Britain for the second year in a row, Belmont Hill is a category two climb near Newport. With a brutal 15% section to get your legs working and destroy any hope you might have had of settling into a good rhythm for the whole 800 metre climb, Belmont Hill has an average gradient of around 9% and is not to be underestimated.
The climb is very near to where Geraint Thomas grew up; if you ride up hills like this every day, there’s always a chance you could go on to win the Tour de France.
Challacombe is as steep as it is narrow. The climb starts near the sea with a very modest incline, but if you raise your head and look ahead, you’ll see that it quickly ramps up to nearly 25% with little respice for the next half a mile.
Cyclists living in Devon should test their legs on this climb as soon as they can.
The Lake District is full of incredible climbs. Whinlatter Pass featured during a team trial in the 2018 Tour of Britain, and twice more the following day. The incline hits 13% in parts going West to East, and is even more challenging if tackled the other direction, with gradients reaching in excess of 20%.
If you don’t live in the Lake District, it’s worth a trip up for Whinlatter Pass.
Tactically, Ashton Hill is more important climb for the 2018 Tour of Britain, but Cheddar Gorge is tougher. If it sounds familiar, that might be because it also featured in the 2007 National Hill Climb Championships.
It’s quite easy to plot a nice route out and up Cheddar Gorge from Bristol, and you could always fit in Ashton Hill on the same day, whether or not you follow the exact route that the race took.
Previous Editions of the Tour the Britain
Other climbs from previous editions of the Tour of Britain include the aptly named The struggle. The race tackled this challenging, and in places windy road, up from Ambleside in the Lake District in 2016. The good news for amateur cyclists is that there’s a pub at the top. The even better news is that the obvious route down is a fast descent down Kirkstone Pass.
While in the Lake District, you would be remiss not to attempt Honister Pass, which featured in the 2013 Tour of Britain.
From the 2015 edition, our favourite climb was Hartside Fell. Unlike some of the others we’ve listed that have sharper gradients, Hartside Fell is long and steady. If you’ve ever done a coast-to-coast, you may have already been up it, as the route through the north Pennines takes you over the top.
The 2014 route saw a mountain finish on top of The Tumble in Wales. Fortunately no one did tumble, but take care when it comes to descending from the summit of this climb.
Did we miss any? Let us know in the comments.
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