The Tour of Britain will start in Wales for the first time after organisers confirmed the route for the 2015 race, which rolls out of Anglesey on Sunday September 6.
The eight-stage race will also visit Edinburgh for the first time in its modern incarnation, and return to Lancashire, Northumberland and East Anglia.
The route also features a summit finish on Hartside Fell in Cumbria – dubbed the hardest ever by Tour of Britain organisers and, with no time trial, the pivotal stage in the race – and a revamped London stage, which will pass through Regent Street and Piccadilly Circus.
The route in detail
North Wales will host the opening stage of this year’s race, part of the UCI Europe Tour, with a stage which passes through all six of the area’s regions as it travels from the island of Anglesey through to Wrexham.
Stage two then heads into the heart of Lancashire for the first time since 2010, with the peloton racing from Clitheroe to Colne on a route which includes the Forest of Bowland and Dunsop Bridge.
The journey north continues for stage three, which will roll out of Cockermouth and head through Carlisle before crossing the border into Scotland and concluding in the grounds of Kelso’s Floors Castle.
Holyrood Park, Edinburgh, then hosts the start of stage four, which takes in much of the city before returning to England with a stage finish in Blyth, Northumberland.
Stage five, meanwhile, follows Hadrian’s Wall from Prudhoe, Northumberland, travelling through the Lake District before the five-mile, 1,904ft high ascent of Hartside Fell – where the GC could be won or lost in the absence of a time trial in this year’s race.
Stoke-on-Trent is the start city for stage six, which concludes in Nottingham, before the longest stage of the race tackles the 225km route from Fakenham in Norfolk to Ipswich in Suffolk.
Finally, the race will once again conclude in the capital, with a new backdrop for the 93km stage, which is to take in Regent Street, Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, the Strand and Whitehall.
Race director Mick Bennett said: “Overall we are absolutely delighted with the course for the 2015 Friends Life Tour of Britain and believe it offers something for everybody across eight very different stages.
“Our hope and intention is to again encourage eight days of aggressive, uninhibited racing, the sort of action that we hope is becoming the trademark of the race.
“We want our national Tour to reflect the tough terrain which is part and parcel of our cycling scene in the UK, and to showcase both the race and the British countryside to spectators at the roadside and to the television audience both at home and around the world.”
British Cycling president Bob Howden added: “This year’s route will excite any fan of cycling and further boosts the Friends Life Tour of Britain’s reputation as one of world cycling’s must-watch races, but it will also give people all over Britain a chance to see some of the world’s best riders in action and encourage them to get out on their bikes.”
Three hours of action will be broadcast from every stage, with ITV showing stage one and ITV4 the rest of the race. A one-hour highlights programme will also be broadcast every evening.
Tour of Britain 2015 route
Sunday September 6: stage one – Beaumaris, Anglesey to Wrexham, 177km
Monday September 7: stage two – Clitheroe to Colne, 162km
Tuesday September 8: stage three – Cockermouth to Floors Castle, Kelso, 216km
Wednesday September 9: stage four – Edinburgh to Blyth, 218km
Thursday September 10: stage five – Prudhoe to Hartside Fell, 171km
Friday September 11: stage six – Stoke-on-Trent to Nottingham, 189km
Saturday September 12: stage seven – Fakenham to Ipswich, 225km
Sunday September 13: stage eight – London stage presented by TfL, 93km