THE OVO Energy Tour of Britain will return to Manchester city centre for the first time in 15 years this month as Greater Manchester hosts the final stage of Britain’s most prestigious cycle race.

Beginning in George Square Glasgow on Saturday, the eight day race will take the world’s top teams and riders across a 1,250-kilometre route through the south of Scotland, England’s North East and North West and the Heart of England before the finale takes place in Manchester for the first time next Saturday.

Across the eight stages riders will spend time in Merseyside, Cheshire and Greater Manchester so there will be plenty of opportunities for north west cycling fans to catch a glimpse.

When and where are the stages near me?

After taking in Scotland on the first two days, the riders will then travel along the north east coast and then across the country to Kendal before stage 5 in Wirral.

Stage five: The Wirral Stage (Birkenhead to Birkenhead) – Wednesday 11 September (174.1km)

St Helens Star:

Wirral’s Birkenhead Park will host both the start and finish of stage five of the OVO Energy Tour of Britain on Wednesday 11 September.

The 174-kilometre (108-mile) stage will help celebrate Wirral’s year as the Liverpool City Region’s Borough of Culture, showcasing the area’s history, heritage and beautiful coastlines.

Riders will pass through the historic Port Sunlight and into Cheshire West and Chester, notably passing the Airbus UK manufacturing facility at Broughton.

The route will return to Wirral via Heswall, Caldy and Hoylake, before passing through the Birkenhead Park finish line and taking in a loop through Seacombe, Wallasey and New Brighton.

Key stage timings

  •  Birkenhead Park, Birkenhead (stage start): 11:00
  •  Kelsall Hill (SKODA King of the Mountains): 13:07
  •  Heswall (Eisberg sprint): 14:02
  •  Hoylake (Eisberg sprint): 14:20
  •  Flaybrick Hill (SKODA King of the Mountains): 14:35
  •  Birkenhead Park (Eisberg sprint): 114:40
  •  Flaybrick Hill (SKODA King of the Mountains): 15:18
  •  Birkenhead Park, Birkenhead (stage finish): 15:23

Click here to see the complete timetable for the Wirral stage

From there riders will take in Little Comberton and Bricklehampton before Warwick and then it's time for the final stage.

Stage eight: The Greater Manchester Stage (Altrincham to Manchester) – Saturday 14 September (166km)

St Helens Star:

Britain’s biggest professional cycle race will return to Greater Manchester for the first time in 15 years this September as all 10 of the city’s boroughs feature in the final stage on Saturday 14 September.

The final day of racing will see the peloton taking on a 165-kilometre route starting in Altrincham.

Far from being a ceremonial end to the tour, stage eight includes almost 2,000 metres of climbing, including the famous climb of the Rake at Ramsbottom, before finishing on the iconic Deansgate in Manchester city centre.

Key stage timings

  • Market Street, Altrincham (stage start): 11:00
  •  Hazel Grove (Eisberg sprint): 11:48
  •  Werneth Low (SKODA King of the Mountains): 12:11
  •  Uppermill (Eisberg sprint): 12:38
  •  Grains Bar (SKODA King of the Mountains): 12:47
  •  The Rake (SKODA King of the Mountains): 13:29
  •  Horwich (Eisberg sprint): 14:10
  •  Deansgate, Manchester (stage finish): 15:12

Click here to see the complete timetable for the final stage circling Bolton and Bury

Where can I watch?

It's free to watch anywhere along the routes and plenty of spectators are expected to head out to cheer on the cyclists.

The biggest crowds are obviously expected at the start and finish lines with big screens in the Tour Village at finish lines.

Who can I see?

Former winner Dylan van Baarle and hotly-tipped Russian Pavel Sivakov headline Team INEOS’ six-man squad.

The pair will be joined by Ireland’s Eddie Dunbar, Michal Golas and Gianni Moscon.

Reigning British road race champion Ben Swift completes their line-up.

While the Great Britain Cycling Team includes the 2018 national road race champion Connor Swift who will join Jake Stewart and British Cycling’s senior academy riders Rhys Britton, Jim Brown, Ethan Vernon and Matt Walls.

For more information visit the official site by clicking here