THE TOUR de Yorkshire - the biggest cycle race in Britain this year and the county’s legacy from last year’s Tour de France - will begin in Bridlington and end in Leeds, it was announced today.
The first annual event, involving professional cyclists from around the world, will also take in Scarborough, the North York Moors and Yorkshire Wolds.
It will take place in three stages in 100 days’ time on May 1st, 2nd and 3rd, and include a women’s event on May 2, a mass participation race on May 3, and a cultural festival.
It is being staged across the May Day holiday weekend and a few days ahead of the general election. But it will not be on the same huge scale as the Grand Départ of the Tour de France, which traversed the county for two days last July.
Stage one on Friday May 1 will start in Bridlington and finish, 174km later, further up the coast in Scarborough, passing through the North York Moors.
From the start line in Bridlington, the riders will head along the Flamborough Head Heritage Coast before turning into the North York Moors National Park, through Dalby Forest and towards Pickering. They will then take a spectacular journey back to the coast at Whitby, and then south to Robin Hood’s Bay with the race to the finish line on the seafront at Scarborough.
The last section of this stage will feature a climb out of Robin Hood’s Bay, which is 1.5km long and has an average gradient of 10.3%.
Stage two on Saturday May 2 will start outside Selby Abbey. The route takes in much of the Wolds, and from Selby will take the peloton towards Market Weighton, through North Newbald and on to Beverley, where they will turn north to Malton, then on to Stamford Bridge. Spectators will have the chance to see a circuit of York and organisers are hoping for a dramatic finish in the city. There will also be a dedicated women’s event on a circuit through York.
Stage three on Sunday May 3, will see the peloton make a return to some of the roads raced in the 2014 Yorkshire Grand Départ of the Tour de France. Starting in Wakefield, riders will travel south to Barnsley before heading to Holmfirth where they pick up the Grand Départ route in reverse, racing to Ripponden before riding the Cragg Vale – which in the Tour de France was the country’s longest continual climb and now becomes the longest continual descent.
The riders will then make their way to Hebden Bridge, Oxenhope and the cobbled streets of Haworth, one of the most memorable images of the Tour de France in Yorkshire. After a steep climb at Goose Eye they will once again see Ilkley, with the climb up the Cow & Calf before a sprint point at Arthington and a finish line in Roundhay Park in Leeds.
The race will be shown live on television in the UK and across Europe, affording Yorkshire’s tourism industry another “shop window”.
The event is being organised by Welcome to Yorkshire and Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), with support from British Cycling and local authorities throughout the county.
Christian Prudhomme, Director of the Tour de France at ASO, said; “After the grandest of Grand Départs of the Tour de France, we were keen to return to Yorkshire. With its stunning landscapes, iconic cities and tough climbs, Yorkshire offers all the ingredients needed for a great cycling race. The welcome we received in Yorkshire in July 2014 was simply spectacular and I am very much looking forward to returning there in May for the Tour de Yorkshire”.
The Tour de Yorkshire route takes in places predominantly in areas which missed out on the Tour de France as it passed through the county. Thierry Gouvenou, Tour de France’s Sports Director, who designed the race route, said; “Yorkshire offers so much with its huge variety of landscapes. For this first edition we have three quite different stages, each with their own challenges and, seen as a whole, a very exciting addition to European racing. This first edition will suit a strong all-rounder rider. In the following years we will change the routes, taking in new places and offering something new each time”.
John Weighell, Leader of North Yorkshire County Council, said: “The Grand Depart of the Tour de France last year was a massive logistical challenge, to which the council and its partners responded with an operation which was widely praised for its efficiency and effectiveness.
“While the Tour de Yorkshire is a less complex event, it still requires considerable expertise to ensure that it can take place in the least disruptive way, while giving all those thousands of people who will undoubtedly want to visit North Yorkshire to see it, the access they need.”
Andy Wilson, chief executive of the North York Moors National Park Authority said: “We’re delighted and very excited that the inaugural Tour de Yorkshire is taking in such a large part of the North York Moors National Park. The route will provide the cyclists and the watching global public with many of our ‘must sees’ including ancient woodland, rolling moorland, picture-postcard villages and stunning heritage coast.
“The North York Moors has carved out a well-deserved reputation as being a fantastic place for mountain biking; the Tour de Yorkshire will highlight to the world that our quiet lanes and fantastic views make it a top destination for road cyclists, too.”
Keith Wakefield, leader of Leeds City Council, said: “Leeds is of course delighted to welcome the tour. There is a huge passion for cycling here – evident for the whole world to see thanks to the incredible atmosphere at last year’s Grand Départ. I’m confident the people of Leeds will again turn out in their thousands and do the city proud at this great event that’s sure to become well respected by both the international cycling community and those closer to home.
“We know thousands of people have been inspired to take up cycling as a result of the Grand Départ. We hope the Tour de Yorkshire will motivate yet more people and see Leeds become an even stronger hotbed for cycling talent. Young people watching from the roadside could develop, with the use of outstanding local facilities, into future winners. We also shouldn’t underestimate what regular cycling is doing for the health of all people who enjoy the freedom of casual cycling.
“The Tour de France brought millions of pounds into the city. It was a massive boost for the economy benefiting both large and small businesses. We can’t have an event of that size every year, but local businesses and residents alike will benefit hugely from the Tour de Yorkshire and we don’t expect road closures to last much more than an hour except in a few key locations.”
Bradford Council leader David Green said: “We are pleased our district has been chosen for part of the route of the Tour de Yorkshire, building on the success of last year’s Tour de France Grand Départ in our district. We hope that people really get behind this new event in the same way as they did last July.”
Wakefield Council’s cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport, Les Shaw said: “Hosting the start of the third stage will be a fantastic opportunity to showcase the city on an international level and I am confident that we will see a real boost to tourism and the local economy across the district.
“This is going to be a prestigious race, involving some of the world’s most elite cycle teams and will be broadcast on national TV and throughout Europe. Let’s get behind this and use the race put Wakefield on the map and enjoy a great day of cycling in our city.”
Gary Verity, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire said; “Before the Grand Départ had even finished people all across Yorkshire were asking when we can have more cycling. The Tour de Yorkshire will bring back many of the world’s top cycling teams and there will be an opportunity for ordinary people to ride the same roads on the same day in the sportive. And this is a free event to watch so there is an opportunity for everyone in the county to be part of Tour de Yorkshire in one way or another.”
The weekend also includes the Tour de Yorkshire Ride, a mass participation bike ride which will take place before the pro race on the morning of the final day, with thousands expected to take part.
Welcome to Yorkshire is also organising a month long Tour de Yorkshire Festival, to showcase the county’s cultural offering. The Yorkshire Festival, which accompanied the Tour de France Grand Depart, will be held in 2016.
The Tour de Yorkshire will be annual event and organisers hope it will grow to become one of the biggest events in the cycling calendar and position Yorkshire at the heart of cycling in Europe.
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