Carlisle - Blackpool
A distance of just under 100 miles doesn’t sound like much for the pro riders, but don’t be fooled – this takes in a couple of Category 1 climbs including one at Shap Fell a third of the way in. Shap’s main claim to fame is that the road is closed when it snows heavily in winter. So let’s hope that the riders are enjoying an Indian summer and not some unseasonal snowfalls. Last year a stage of the Tour was cancelled in its entirety and we don’t want a repeat this time around.
Three Yodel sprints – in Shap, Kendal and Caton – should enliven proceedings before the riders make it to Blackpool, which thanks to its mini-Eiffel Tower should be visible miles away. The smell of the Irish Sea, fish and chips and cockles should also provide a clue that the end is close. There’s a long, flat run into the finish line underneath the Tower, and with the last two winners here Andre Greipel and Edvald Boasson Hagen, there’s every chance that a third sprinter will be on the top rung of the podium this evening. Unless they had too much Kendal mint cake en route. Maybe one for Brit Russell Downing?
Mildly interesting stage fact off of the Internet
‘The playground of the north’ is famous for its illuminations. These first happened in 1879, with eight arc lamps.