Human Powered Health is back in the UK for the Tour of Britain, a year after Robin Carpenter took a solo victory on stage two and rode emphatically into the leader’s jersey. The first-ever American stage winner/overall leader, the result cemented the team into the history of the race with the squad now returning to chase even more success.
Running from September 5–11 from the north of Scotland to an island off the south coast of England, Britain is renowned for its all-action racing and once again the peloton will take on challenging, thrill-a-minute parcours in front of some of the most dedicated cycling fans in the world.
Americans Joey Rosskopf and Gavin Mannion raced last year and will join Tour of Britain debutants Stephen Bassett and the Norwegian pair of Kristian Aasvold and August Jensen in the team. In the car, the riders can count on the vast experience of team director Hendrik Redant, who has raced and directed in Britain many times, and Clark Sheehan, who was with the women’s squad at the UK Women’s Tour in June.
Finally, for the first time ever, in 2022, Human Powered Health takes a British rider to a UK race in the form of the fast-finishing Matt Gibson. Third behind Yves Lampaert and Matteo Jorgenson on stage 7 of last year’s race, the 25-year-old is looking forward to his second participation in his home tour.
“Last time was great fun racing on home roads and I know for a few of my teammates it’ll be their first time in the UK and I hope they enjoy it as much I do,” Gibson said when we caught up with him ahead of the race.
Having home insight into unique styles of racing like those faced in the UK is important – not just the fact they drive on the left side of the road – as even on supposedly easy days, the conditions and roads can be particularly unrelenting.
“Typically British roads aren’t the fastest in terms of rolling resistance due to the way they’re built to survive the tough weather conditions,” Gibson explains. “This combined with lots of short steep climbs, narrow twisty roads and often bad weather creates incredibly challenging racing which is always super exciting to watch.”
One piece of advice he has though is very poignant to anyone looking to embark on a bike trip in the UK – “pack plenty of kit for bad weather.”
Unlike last year, the route does not go into the northwest of England from where Gibson hails, but he does know some of the roads on stage 3 that traverse parts of the hilly Pennines Area of Natural Beauty. In terms of objectives, Gibson is hoping for sprints.
“I’m definitely looking at the stages that look like they’ll come down to sprint finish which right now looks like stages 3, 5 and 7.”
Off the bike, Gibson will no doubt turn tour guide for our intrepid team of multinational riders and staff. On one of the typical British staples, he says, “as much of a coffee drinker as I am, you can’t beat a good cup of tea after a cold ride, and as everyone knows, nowhere else quite does tea like the UK.”
Joining Gibson will be the recent winner of the peacock KOM jersey at the Arctic Race of Norway Stephen Bassett, who is looking forward to his first venture to the UK, especially when it comes to indulging in the local delicacies.
“I am keen to have my first Full English Breakfast,” he says enthusiastically. “I always prefer stage races and I’m really looking forward to the Tour of Britain as my last one of the season. I’ve heard the race has a lot of energy with fans really into the event, so excited to take in the vibe of the race.”
Having shown his breakaway talents year-round, Bassett will be looking to infiltrate moves and race for the KOM or intermediate sprint jersey.
“Looking at the race, there’s a history of breaks making it to the line, so I’ll aim to capitalize on that and see where points are available along the way,” he says. “The short climbs suit me better so it’s nice to have a race in familiar terrain.”
The man from Knoxville, TN also provided an insight into his pre-race training schedule.
“I think my form is still ticking upward in the second half of the season,” Bassett said. “I haven’t done anything radical, just continuing to keep the volume relatively high for me and letting the more intense efforts from the racing in Norway and Belgium sink in a bit.”
Need more hype for UK racing? Go behind the scenes of our women’s squad’s journey through the country in June in our race gallery.
Tour of Britain stage by stage
9/4 Stage 1 | Aberdeen – Glenshee Ski Centre (181.3km) Uphill finish
The race begins where the 2021 edition ended in the Scottish city of Aberdeen. There’s never any easy start to the Tour of Britain and in the 9.1km, long climb to the Glenshee Ski Centre with its 4.8% average gradient, the organizers have certainly found a brilliant way to start the action. Our Norwegians should feel at home in Scotland so watch out for Aasvold at the finish as this is the type of climb he thrives on.
9/5 Stage 2 | Hawick – Duns (175.2km) Hilly
With three challenging climbs inside the final 20km, stage 2 is not unlike the one that Carpenter won from a breakaway last year, finishing in Exeter. As a result, the parcours in Scotland could well suit a breakaway, evading the peloton on the hard-going, twisting roads and descents. Crucially, it’s also Rosskopf’s birthday.
9/6 Stage 3 | Durham – Sunderland (163.6km) Rolling
Although stage 3 is the first one most likely to finish in a sprint that will suit strong riders like Gibson and Jensen, there is a tour through the beautiful North Pennines AONB in the first half of the day and the chance to score maximum points over the category one Chapel Fell climb. This one will look stunning.
9/7 Stage 4 | Redcar – Duncombe Park, Helmsley (149.5km) Hilly
A big day for the KOM competition, riders chasing the green jersey will have to go up the road on stage 4 to try and score points over the category 2 Egton Bank and category 1 Robin Hood’s Bay and Carlton Bank climbs. Watch out for the famous ‘Beefeater Bend’ fans on the final categorized climb. A potentially GC-forming stage, the uncategorized climb that ends in the Newgate Bank intermediate sprint is the perfect launchpad for an assault on the stage win. As the old adage goes, you won’t win the race here, but you could easily lose it.
9/8 Stage 5 | West Bridgford – Mansfield (186.8km) Flat
Another chance for a sprint, the lead-out trains will be keen to make sure Mansfield welcomes the bunch intact. Such is the difficulty of this year’s route, staggeringly this is the only stage where the overall elevation doesn’t exceed 2,000 meters.
9/9 Stage 6 | Tewkesbury – Gloucester (170.9km) Hilly
Both Tewkesbury and Gloucester hosted a stage start and finish in the Women’s Tour earlier this year but the route on stage 6 is very different. No less climbing though, the picturesque Cotswolds will be the backdrop for a day of racing that is hoped to be as thrilling as the dramatic stage that Lorena Wiebes won back in June.
9/10 Stage 7 | West Bay – Ferndown (175.9km) Rolling
The stunning views just keep coming at the Tour of Britain with the race visiting a UNESCO World Heritage Site on stage 7 in Dorset’s Jurassic Coast (yes, think dinosaurs). With a profile that looks like the back of a Stegosaurus, on this stage, there is no such thing as safe.
9/11 Stage 8 | Ryde – The Needles (148.9km) Uphill finish
The Tour of Britain finishes on England’s largest island, the Isle of Wight, for a compact, windswept stage with an uphill finish at The Needles, so-called for the stacks of chalk cliff that stick out of the water and are visible from the finish line. It’s going to be a truly epic end to a big eight days of racing.
How to watch
All eight stages of the Tour of Britain will be watchable worldwide. In North America, GCN+ will carry images with live pictures each day presented from around 5 am – 10 am CT and our British fans can catch the action on the roadside or on ITV4. We’ll see you out there.