Road racer is top of the rocks ahead of Tour de Yorkshire

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Top cyclist Ben Swift proved he’s definitely a man for the big occasion as the countdown continued to the inaugural Tour de Yorkshire.

Ben was the star guest today at the unveiling of a giant-sized replica of the race’s Yorkshire Bank-sponsored sprinter’s jersey at Ilkley’s Cow and Calf Rocks.

Ben Swift with the giant-sized jersey at Ilkley's Cow and Calf Rocks.

Ben Swift with the giant-sized jersey at Ilkley's Cow and Calf Rocks.

And he’s clearly looking forward to hitting the streets of his native Yorkshire in what is one of the year’s most eagerly-anticipated sporting events.

Rotherham-born Ben said: “There’s something special about racing in your home county and I can’t wait to get started.

“If it’s anything like the Tour de France, I know the local support will be amazing. I hope I can feed off that in the sprints and put in a good performance.”

The Tour de Yorkshire gets under way on Friday with a stage running from Bridlington to Scarborough.

Stage two on Saturday will see the riders making their way from Selby to York while Sunday’s stage three will take them from Wakefield to Leeds’s Roundhay Park via Barnsley, Haworth and the Cow and Calf Rocks.

Road racer Ben said: “It’s been good coming up here to remind myself of the route. Stage three is looking particularly challenging but I’d love to be in the mix.

“There’s a couple of tough climbs before we drop into Ilkley so I’ll need to hold something back for the sprint.”

The Welcome To Yorkshire-backed event is being staged to try to build on the success of the county’s hosting of last year’s Tour de France Grand Départ.

Other riders taking part include Sir Bradley Wiggins and Germany’s Marcel Kittel.

Nicola Saunders-Jones and Jack Bean who were exhibiting their fashion brand "Offend My Eyes" in Whitby for the first day of Goth Weekend.  Friday 21 April 2017. w171605a
 Picture: Ceri Oakes

Picture special: Whitby Goth Weekend