The Isle of Wight stage of the 2022 Tour of Britain is set to be one of the most spectacular stages of a British cycling race seen to date. The finale (Stage 8) will see the peloton head to all four corners of the Isle of Wight, finishing at the National Trust's iconic Needles New Battery. En route, the riders will experience breathtaking climbs, hair raising descents and of course, stunning sea views.

In this blog post we look at the route for the Isle of Wight stage and highlight the best locations from where to enjoy the action and what to watch out for at crucial points within the race.

Tour of Britain route map on the Isle of Wight

Ryde to Brook

Bed of flowers in Ryde opposite the beach

The route starts from the carnival seaside town of Ryde. The peloton will have a chance to ease their legs into this final stage as they head along the picturesque Appley seafront through to Seaview, before ascending Fairy Hill into Nettlestone, onwards to St Helens, and then down to Bembridge Harbour.

From Bembridge the riders follow the well-known Randonnée ‘Round the Island Route’ through to Yaverland Manor, where they then skirt down onto the seafront of Sandown Bay, past The Bandstand, and back onto the road through to Brading. On reaching Yarbridge crossroads, things will first start to ignite… 

The climb from Yarbridge up onto Brading Down is the first substantial ascent during this stage, and it could be a decisive moment when a breakaway may try to get away from the main bunch. To see the action, spectators will get a good view from Brading Down Viewpoint Car Park; from where they will be able to see the first riders as they charge up Bully’s Hill and onwards on the Downs Road towards Newport.

Past the Seamark, the route continues along the fast descents and ascents of the Downs Road to the Hare and Hounds pub. Here, the riders take a left and descend into the Arreton Valley, passing through the village of Merstone and onwards to Rookley.

From Rookley, the route heads up through the village of Chillerton—a notable climb, over the summit of the National Trust's Chillerton Down, and out into the West Wight through Shorwell and Brighstone. If a breakaway can gain a gap over the Downs, they may keep it for this section as the hedgerows and rolling roads will keep them ‘out of sight and out of mind’ from the peloton. 

Brook to Cowes

After passing through the village of Hulverstone, the route turns right up Brook Shute, before rocketing down onto the Middle Road. Here the riders will pass the popular cycling café Chessell Pottery – another great vantage point from where to watch the action.

After Chessell, it will be a fast run into Freshwater, up the High Street, then looping back to face eastwards towards Yarmouth as they pass through Totland. The peloton should make for a spectacular sight as it skirts round Yarmouth Harbour and proceeds along the coast road through to Shalfleet.

Shalfleet to Gurnard is a sequence of quintessential Island lanes around the edge of the National Trust's Newtown National Nature Reserve, and on the undulating roads through Porchfield. Things get a little punchier as the peloton rise out of Gurnard Marsh and then descend onto Cowes Esplanade. This moment is sure to be a wonderful spectacle—as the colourful peloton fly along the famous seaside stretch past Cowes Green. Get your horns and ice creams at the ready!

Cowes seafront

Cowes to Shanklin

From Cowes, the route heads south on the main road to Newport. Expect to see the High Street lined with people as the race thunders into town. There are many great bars and cafes in the centre of Newport from where to watch the action, with Grace’s Bakery being a particularly good pitstop for amateur riders taking on the route that need a refuel.

Out of Newport, the riders head through Blackwater and back to Rookley; but this time they are heading east, and we anticipate it will be a fast section as riders jostle for position ahead of the more complicated final third of the stage.

Cafes such as Cook and Baker and pubs like The Taverners will be prime spots from which to see the action as the race zips through the thatched village of Godshill.

Arriving in Shanklin, the peloton will be bracing themselves for what is to come, because from here things get quite a bit more lumpy!

Shanklin to Freshwater

Shanklin Old Village

The first major climb from Shanklin is from Shanklin Old Village to the top of Cowleaze Hill: reaching 10 percent gradients for sustained periods, this climb will string out the peloton as they head towards Ventnor.

It will be a blisteringly fast descent from the top of Leeson Road all the way down to Ventnor seafront; and those waiting in the town centre will see the riders zoom past as they plummet towards sea level. 

View of Ventnor seafront from the sea

After negotiating the speed bumps along Ventnor Esplanade, riders will then be presented with ‘the wall’ that is Bath Road on the western end of the esplanade. This climb, though short, reaches 25 percent in places and is a very narrow road. Expect some grimacing faces as riders reach the false flat by The Royal Hotel.

It is a false flat because from here riders continue to climb all the way out of Ventnor on Zig-Zag Road, onwards to Whitwell and Niton, and then further still to the top of Blackgang Road: effectively sea level to 175 metres above over the course of the ascent.

From the top of Blackgang, the famous Military Road will be laid out ahead of the peloton, and they will waste no time in storming their way along the full length of this spectacular cliff top stretch of tarmac. If a breakaway has managed to get a gap on the peloton before this stage in the race, this will be the time when the competing team will be trying to reel in the escapees. 

The Needles Finale

Sea views from the Military Road - photo credit: Tim Wiggins/National Trust

The Military Road ends with the two notable climbs of the National Trust's Compton Down and Freshwater Down, as the road skirts along the edge of the cliff. This section is sure to provide some truly magnificent photo opportunities—with the riders high up the cliff, with crashing waves beneath them.

After descending into Freshwater Bay, the race will fly past Dimbola and The Piano Café, before taking on Moons Hill – the penultimate climb. Expect things to be getting quite frantic in the peloton at this stage, as riders jostle for position on the approach to the finish; the narrow roads will create a pinch-point with no rider wanting to be left at the back of the peloton as the action unfolds.

The fireworks will really begin as the front runners enter The Needles Landmark Attraction and start the ascent; the initial ramp stringing out the pack before the long singletrack road to the summit unfolds ahead of them. The final kilometre will then be an all-out effort to the National Trust's New Battery, with every rider looking to empty the tank at the end of the stage, and the end of the Tour. 

Whoever makes it round that final hairpin first, will likely be gunning for victory…

This route profile will give you an idea of what, where and when to watch the final stage of the 2022 Tour of Britain on the Isle of Wight. There are many fantastic Island cafes, pubs and restaurants along the route from where you can cheer on the riders; whichever vantage point(s) you choose, be sure to have cameras and klaxons at the ready… this is going to be spectacular!