Cycling fans are expected to turn out in force when the Tour of Britain passes through Cumbria today.

The sixth stage of the race starts in Carlisle before passing through the Lakes via Ullswater, Pooley Bridge, Unthank, Langwathby, Melmerby, Alston and Nenthead before heading to the north east and finishing at Gateshead.

Spectators are encouraged to watch at any point along the route providing they do so safely, though they are advised that, because of Covid-19 protocols, there is no spectator access to the team paddock at stage starts and finishes.

Among the highlights, following the departure from Devonshire Walk in Carlisle at 10.45am, are the fast sprints expected at Motherby around 11.43am and in Penrith at about 12.20pm.

King of the Mountain climbs at Hartside at 12.50pm, or Killhope Cross at 1.13pm on the border between the Pennines and County Durham, are also likely to attract fans.

It is a third consecutive appearance for Cumbria on the UK’s biggest cycling event, with only London having welcomed the Tour of Britain on more occasions.

The stage is 198km long, with Mark Cavendish among the stars involved. “It’s fantastic to have the Tour of Britain return once again in Cumbria” said Dan Visser, vice chair of Cumbria Tourism.

“The route showcases many hidden gems of our fascinating county. Cumbria and the Lake District were made for cycling. For tourism businesses in the area, it’s a chance to demonstrate their cycling friendly credentials, providing more reasons for visitors to return and to stay longer.”