1. ITV Report

Double dose of Tour of Britain for Cumbria this year

The Tour of Britain will feature its first team time trial this year on a route designed to be unpredictable.

After a 2017 edition dominated by sprinters, the 2018 race should be more punchy with two stages - including the team time trial - finishing on Whinlatter Pass in Cumbria and plenty of challenging climbs thrown in elsewhere.

The race will start on Sunday, September 2 with a 175km stage from Pembrey Country Park to Newport and visit the South West, Warwickshire, Cumbria and Nottinghamshire before a return to the familiar circuit finish in London on September 9.

The team time trial will come on stage five, covering 14 kilometres from Cockermouth to Whinlatter Pass in the Lake District.

A day later the riders will return to the summit, but this time coming up the tougher eastern side at the end of a 169km stage which starts in Barrow-in-Furness.

Our partners at Cumbria County Council have helped us to achieve something that we have been keen to do for a number of years on stage five - a team time trial that finishes atop Whinlatter Pass.

This will be a test like no other, as teams will have to get their equipment choices and tactics spot on. The race may not be won here, but some riders could certainly lose it.

In another first for the OVO Energy Tour of Britain, we return to the same climb the following day for a double ascent of our summit finish - although riders will tackle it during a conventional road stage, albeit from its harder eastern side.

While Whinlatter Pass is likely to be the focus of the battle for the overall leader's green jersey, there are testing climbs throughout the route, often in the final kilometres of the day."

– Mick Bennett, race director

With a series of sprint finishes keeping time differences at a minimum, Dutchman Lars Boom won the 2017 Tour thanks to his victory on the stage five time trial, and his LottoNL-Jumbo squad are one of 10 WorldTour teams already confirmed to take part this year.

Mark Cavendish's Team Dimension Data, Team Sky and Mitchelton-Scott are also on the list.