THE Tour of Britain is coming to Warrington this Thursday.

September 9 will see the country's biggest cycling race following the town's streets, with a grand finish at the Golden Gates.

Here is our all-encompassing guide to the event – from road closures to and festivities on the day to which riders to look out for.

What’s happening?

It’s the Tour of Britain.

Think the Tour de France but, you guessed it, in the UK.

This is stage five of the race, which over the course of this week is taking in the almost the length of the country.

Warrington Guardian:

The first leg began all the way down in Cornwall on Sunday, which takes three and four saw riders wind their way through Wales.

After Warrington, the tour will take a jaunt across the north from Carlisle to Gateshead.

And the two final legs will take in Scotland, ultimately finishing at Aberdeen.

What is the route?

The leg begins at Alderley Park on the outskirts of Macclesfield before ultimately finishing in Warrington town centre.

Expect riders to be in Warrington after 3pm.

From the starting line, the route heads south to Congleton, east towards Buxton and back north to Wilmslow before taking in Knutsford and heading our way.

By the time it reaches Mere, there will be 25km to go in the race.

Warrington Guardian:

After heading past High Legh, riders will pedal over to Appleton Thorn and then down London Road.

The cyclists will take a right-hand turn at the junction of the A49 and the A56 in Stockton Heath, then veer off left at Ackers Road and over the Manchester Ship Canal via the Cantilever Bridge.

They will then following Kingsway through Latchford over to Manchester Road, turning into Padgate Lane and following Marsh House Lane and Longford Street before dropping down onto Winwick Road.

Finally, the race will head along Pinners Brow, Tanners Lane, Froghall Lane and Priestley Street down to the Pink Eye roundabout then back into town via Liverpool Road and Sankey Street.

Town Hall will mark the finishing point.

Spectators lining the route are warned not to stand in the road and to stick to the pavement at a safe distance from the riders.

Are there road closures around town?

Yes, quite a lot in fact.

Rolling road closures will be in place between 5am and 8pm in all, although most routes outside the town centre will be limited to 1.30pm to 4pm.

From 1.30pm to 3pm, Barleycastle Lane, Grappenhall Lane, Blackcap Road, Dipping Brook Avenue, Longwood Road, London Road, Grappenhall Road, Ackers Road and Station Road in the south of the town will be closed.

Between 2pm and 3.30pm, Knutsford Road, Kingsway South, Kingsway North, Manchester Road, Padgate Lane, Marsh House Lane, Orford Lane, Longford Street, Winwick Road, Pinners Brow, Tanners Lane, Froghall Lane and Priestley Street will shut.

Meanwhile, Liverpool Road will close from 1pm to 4pm.

In the town centre, all routes within the box formed by Sankey Street, Bold Street, Museum Street and Parker Street will be unnavigable to traffic from 5am to 8pm.

Vehicles will not be allowed to stop on many of the above roads between 9am and 4pm.

Motorists are warned to expect major delays.

Who are the riders to watch?

Mark Cavendish is the biggest name involved.

The legendary Manx cyclist may be coming to the end of his career, but he will still be a real draw on the tour.

Meanwhile, his Deceuninck-Quick Step teammate Julian Alaphilippe is returning to the race for the first time since winning it in 2018.

Warrington Guardian:

Julian Alaphilippe during the 2018 Tour of Britain

Team Ineos’ Ethan Hayter was a silver medallist for Team GB at the Tokyo Olympics this summer, as was stage one winner Wout van Aert for Belgium.

He’s making his tour debut with the Dutch Jumbo-Visma team.

Warrington Guardian: Team Jumbo-Visma’s Wout Van Aert celebrates victory on the first stage of the Tour of Britain

Wout van Aert on stage one of the tour - picture by PA

Meanwhile, American Robin Carpenter claimed a surprise stage two win for Rally Cycling on Monday.

What else is going on?

Plenty, in particular a ‘tour village’ near to finish line in Bank Park.

The ‘sporting and cultural extravaganza for people of all ages’ will be open between 11am and 4pm.

Activities include stalls, displays, food and drink, circus performers, exhibits from race partners and a bike museum.

A giant television screen will also be broadcasting the race ahead of its arrival at the Golden Gates.

Warrington Guardian:

Time Square will also be hosting circus workshops between 3pm and 6pm, with a 30-minute performance from the troupe at 6pm.

Warrington Borough Council leader Cllr Russ Bowden said: “I think it’s fair to say that excitement is certainly building.

“It promises to be an unforgettable day, and the tour village is the perfect way to welcome visitors from across the borough and beyond for what I know will be a massive celebration.

“The atmosphere will be electric, and alongside watching the race there is also a range of superb activities for everyone to enjoy at the tour village as we come together in anticipation for the cyclists arriving at the Golden Gates.

“We are very proud to be bringing the race finish to Warrington and we want to make it a very special occasion.

“Please show your support by heading down to the tour village any time between 11am and 4pm, and joining us in giving the cyclists a very warm Warrington welcome.”