YORKSHIRE’S own race has been described as an “extraordinary phenomenon” by one of cycling’s leading presenters.
Ned Boulting will be at the forefront of ITV 4’s coverage of the Tour de Yorkshire, which begins in Beverley today. He was on duty in the county two years ago, for the visit of the Tour de France and admits to being amazed by the legacy that left behind.
“I am looking forward to it greatly,” said Boulting of the second edition of the White Rose tour. “It is an extraordinary race. I have covered races all round Europe, in fact all round the world and I can’t remember a race that has made such an impact in such a short space of time.
“It is an extraordinary phenomenon and that is down to the people of Yorkshire. On Wednesday I rode from Middlesbrough to Scarborough, which is stage three and there was not a village or town that had not embraced it. The bunting was out and the blue-painted bikes, it is bizarre and brilliant.”
Boulting feels Yorkshire has built on the Tour de France’s legacy in a way the country as a whole failed to do following the 2012 London Olympics. He said: “Already, within two years, you have an established, high-quality international race, with huge public support. I think that is a remarkable achievement.”
Boulting admitted he can not pick a winner from this year’s field, though he feels Sky’s Lars Petter Nordhaug is capable of retaining the title he won 12 months ago.
“I could make a case for 20 or 30 riders,” he said.
“I think the great thing about the race, what gives it its unique flavour, is its unpredictability.”
Boulting will be back in Yorkshire later this year with his own show Bikeology, which presents a tongue in cheek look at the way cycling has gone from strength to strength in this country over recent years. Tickets for the show, at Leeds City Varieties on Wednesday, November 2, go on sale today.