Your guide to the Tour of Britain Stoke-on-Trent leg: Route, road closures and vantage points
BRADLEY Wiggins and Mark Cavendish will be whizzing through Stoke-on-Trent tomorrow, when one of the hottest races in the cycling calendar passes through the city.
The Tour of Britain sees 100 of the world’s best riders tackle the nation’s terrain come rain or shine, travelling to the heights of the Scottish Borders down to the famous Dartmoor climbs.
Having kicked off in Ipswich on Sunday, the race comes to Stoke-on-Trent tomorrow for the fifth leg. This is the fifth year the Tour of Britain has visited the Potteries.
Find out everything you need to know about tomorrow’s events with our handy guide.
The Tour of Britain takes place between Sunday September 9 and Sunday September 16.
The Grand Depart took place in Ipswich, with Suffolk and Norfolk hosting the opening stage of the race.
From there The Tour visited Nottingham, Knowsley and Merseyside, Scotland and the North West, before arriving in Stoke-on-Trent.
The race has yet to pass through Wales and Devon, before it enters the final stage in the Surrey Hills.
It will finish on Guildford’s uphill, cobbled High Street on Sunday 16.
The Tour forms part of the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) Europe Tour. The Europe Tour is made up of a list of cycling events that cycling teams from around the world can participate in.
The Stoke-on-Trent route
The Stoke-on-Trent leg of the race will take a 150km route heading through Stone, Stafford, Rugeley and Uttoxeter, Cannock Chase, Staffordshire Moorlands and Gun Hill, before finishing in the city centre.
It will depart from the Italian Gardens on the Trentham Estate at 10.30am, but instead of turning left upon exiting the estate as in years previous, this year the route turns right, crossing the A34 and then taking back roads to Barlaston and Stone.
The route passes across the Trent & Mersey Canal from the Wedgwood Estate and factory that has featured in the closing stages of the leg for the previous three years.
At 10.54am Stone will once again host the opening Yodel Sprint of the stage, but this year beyond the town centre on Lichfield Road, as the race takes a different approach through the town.
Next, the race continues along the Trent Valley, parallel to the river and canal, crossing them both in the village of Sandon and on to the outskirts of Stafford.
The race follows the A513, passing by MOD Stafford and the Staffordshire University campus then through Baswich at 11.13am to return to the A34.
A brief main road section leads the race to Brocton, where the first of the day's climbs begin. The stage turns on to the small Chase Road in the centre of Brocton.
At 11.22am SKODA King of the Mountains climb leads on to the open expanse of Cannock Chase and up to Glacial mountain, before the route passes the German military cemetery, and then the Chase's Commonwealth war cemetery.
A left hand turn at Broadhurst Green takes the race through the heart of Cannock Chase and then back down to the Trent Valley on the outskirts of Rugeley at 11.33am.
The next stage promises to be one of the iconic moments of the 2012 Tour, as the race drops down and across the causeway through the middle of Blithfield Reservoir.
The race then makes its way through Uttoxeter for the second Yodel Sprint at midday. Through the centre of the town the race re-joins the Stoke-on-Trent Stage route from previous years, using the long, straight and flat B5030 up the Dove Valley to Rocester for the third and final Yodel Sprint at 12.11.
Passing the world headquarters of JCB, the race then diverts onto a new course for 2012, turning left to Denstone and on to Alton at 12.17.
After Denstone the cyclists head above the Churnet Valley, before plunging down to the river at Oakamoor. A fast descent leads over the river and straight into the SKODA King of the Mountains climb of Oakamoor Moorside at 12.33.
Three kilometres of climbing take the race on to the exposed hillsides. Passing Windy Harbour, the race speeds downhill past the Blackbrook Zoological Park.
The route then heads into the Peak District National Park via Onecote to Warslow at 12.52, for the Tour's second visit to the village in 2012.
Riders will tackle the climb up to Morridge without the benefit of SKODA King of the Mountains points on offer. Instead for they will have to wait ten kilometres more for the climb of Gun Hill at 1.15pm, which the Tour climbs for the fourth year in a row.
After the descent riders turn back on themselves along the A523 towards Rushton Spencer above Rudyard Reservoir, before turning left onto the day's final climb.
Just over three kilometres of uphill take the race onto the ridgeline of Biddulph Moor and Lask Edge at 1.27pm. After dropping off the ridgeline via Brown Edge to Endon the Tour returns to main roads for the run back in to Stoke-on-Trent.
Next are the wide and straight roads through Stockton Brook, Milton and Abbey Hulton at 1.43pm.
The finish is still in the city centre in Hanley, but for 2012 it has moved a few hundred yards to a flatter, straight profile. The race turns right from the A52 onto Botteslow Street for a 500-metre drag up to Potteries Way.
At the top the stage swings right, before a final left-hand turn leads to the flat final couple of hundred metres to the line on Old Hall Street at around 1.54pm. The window for the finish is between 1.54pm and 2:36pm.
Where to watch the action
Italian Gardens, Trentham Estate: Watch the throng of cyclists bolt into action at 10.30am, in what promises to be a thrilling take off. The Estate will also host entertainment beforehand.
Cannock Chase: At 11.22am a short sharp SKODA King of the Mountains climb leads on to the open expanse of Cannock Chase. The top of the climb is level, with several car parks, making it ideal for spectators, particularly as it is one of the climbs where SKODA will be present to entertain fans.
Blithfield Reservoir: After the race has made its way through Cannock Chase and then back down to the Trent Valley on the outskirts of Rugeley at 11.33am, the next stage promises to be one of the iconic moments of the 2012 Tour.
The race is set to drop down and across the causeway through the middle of Blithfield Reservoir.
Stockton Brook, Milton and Abbey Hulton: The pace is set to turn up a notch at 1.43pm - any remnants of an escape will have to have a good lead at this point, as the wide and largely straight roads through Stockton Brook, Milton and Abbey Hulton will be beneficial to a chase.
Big screen, city centre: The action will be broadcast by ITV4 on a giant screen in the city centre. The channel will air two hours live, together with an hour-long daily highlight programme.
Online: The entire race will also be streamed live online.
Most of the road closures will be rolling measures, which will last for as long as the race takes to pass. There will be a police escort and the sight of this vehicle below will signal the end of the closure.
Road closures in Stoke-on-Trent for the Tour of Britain
Roads to be closed between 5am and 8pm:
- Old Hall Street: From Albion Square to Goodson Street
- Albion Square: The whole of
- Parliament Square: The whole of
- Parliament Row: From Parliament Square to Old Hall Street
- Stafford Street: From Strafford Lane to Albion Square
- Albion Street: From Cheapside to Lichfield Street
- Lichfield Street: From Boothroyd Street to Old Hall Street
- Charles Street: The whole of
- Goodson Street: The whole of
Roads to be closed between 9.30am and 11am:
- Stone Road: From Longton Road to Whitmore Road
- Longton Road: From Stone Road to Barlaston Old Road
- Barlaston Old Road: The whole of
Roads to be closed between 11.30pm and 3pm:
- Botteslow Street: The whole of
- Potteries Way: From Lichfield Street to Old Hall Street
- Old Hall Street: From Goodson Street to Potteries Way
- Derby Street: For a distance of 45 metres from its junction with Botteslow Street
- Nelson Place: For a distance of 10 metres from its junction with Commercial Road
Roads to be closed between 12.30pm and 3pm:
- Leek New Road: From City Boundary to Baddeley Green Lane
- Baddeley Green Lane: The whole of
- Leed Road: From Baddeley Green Lane to Botteslow Street
Road Closures in Staffordshire for the Tour of Britain
- Borough of Stafford: Barlaston (Old Road), Meaford Road, Mount Road, B5027, A520, B5027,(Lichfield Road), A51, Sandon Road, A513 Beaconside, A518 (Weston Road),Blackheath Lane, A34(Cannock Road), Sawpit Lane,Chase Road, Camp Road, Penkridge Bank.
- District Of Cannock: Penkridge Bank Road, Shooting Butts Road, Etching Hill, A460, A51 Wolseley
- Borough of Stafford: A51 (Wolseley Bridges), Bishton Lane, Bellamour Lane, B5013.
- Borough of East Staffordshire: B5013, Admaston, A518, Hockley Road, Oldfields Road, Smithfield
Road, Church Street, The Dove Way, B5030, B5031, Denstone Lane (B5032), Alton.
- District of Staffordshire Moorlands: B5032 Denstone Lane, Threapwood, Hares Lane, B5417, Oakamoor, Cotton Lane, A523, B5053 (Bottom House), Onecote, Warslow, Thorncliffe Lane, Leek Road, A53, Beat Lane, Newtown Road, A52 Leek Road, A50 Potteries Way, Old Hall Street.
The Tour of Britain teams boast stage winners from all three Grand Tours, including seven Tour de France stage winners with 31 victories to their name.
The rider list also contains four Tour de France jersey winners, six Giro d’Italia stage winners and six Vuelta a Espana stage winners.
Five of the riders lining up for this year’s Tour of Britain are Olympic medallists.
Some of the big names set to be whizzing through Stoke-on-Trent are:
Bradley Wiggins: Britain's first Tour de France winner, Wiggins sprung on to the international cycling scene as a junior in 1997 when he won the World Junior Pursuit title. Cycling fans will be able to see the man himself in action, less than three months since he clinched his historic victory in Paris, and only two months since he secured the Olympic time trial gold in London.
Mark Cavendish: The star of the European road sprinting scene in 2007, when he rode his first full season with German sponsor, T-Mobile, Cavendish has been both World and Commonwealth Games Champion.
He had his most successful season in 2011 riding for HTC, winning the Green Jersey (Tour de France) and the Rainbow Jersey (World Championships) in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Cavendish has also been awarded an MBE for “Services to British Cycling” at a ceremony at Buckingham Palace.
Ivan Basso: An Italian professional road bicycle racer, Basso is currently racing with Italian UCI pro tour team Liquigas-Doimo. Basso is a Tour de France jersey winner, and the 2002 Best Young Rider.
He is among the best mountain riders in the professional field of the 2000s, and is considered one of the strongest stage race riders.