Narrow lanes, undulating landscapes, outrageously steep climbs, exposed moorlands, miles of dry stonewalls and some of the biggest names in cycling can all be associated with the UK’s biggest county, Yorkshire.
Following a successful inauguration last year, Yorkshire will once again play host to three stages of sensational racing. The 2.1 UCI Europe Tour race will see some of the biggest names in cycling race through the breath taking beauty that is God’s own county.
This year will see the race return to some familiar roads that were featured in the 2014 Tour de France Grand Départ, as well as a return to some of the toughest climbs in the county that played a role in last years Tour de Yorkshire.
With a host of Yorkshire men amongst our ranks starting the tour, the team are eager to demonstrate true ‘Yorkshire Grit’.
STAGE 1 – BEVERLY TO SETTLE
Terrain: One for the sprinters
Starting the tour from the quiet market town of Beverly, the race heads west on wider roads before turning off and on to the lanes leading into the day’s climb. From Ripley the terrain begins to undulate and we expect to see a lot of activity leading into Patley Bridge as the exit from the village has a gradient of 16% that leads into the KoM of the day, Côte de Greenhow Hill.
At 2.8km and an average gradient of 8.6%, Côte de Greenhow Hill is a testing first climb of the tour. Positioning leading into the climb will be important, as there is every possibility that the peloton will split at the steep foot of the climb. This could see a smaller group sprinting for the line if they can stay away over the remaining 60km leading into Settle. However, with a long descent off the top towards the finish, it should all be brought back for a bunch sprint in Settle.
STAGE 2 – OTLEY TO DONCASTER
Terrain: Undulating but one for the sprinters
The 135.5km of roads that make up stage 2 have not been visited in either the Tour de France or last years Tour de Yorkshire. Starting from the domestic racing renowned market town of Otley, the race heads south east with some sharp short climbs right from the drop of the flag, including the early KoM climbs. The profile levels off slightly before heading back into the undulating narrow lanes leading towards Doncaster. With some short sharp climbs in the last 40km there is a chance that a split in the peloton may form, although with little in the way of elevation we should expect to see it all come back together for a bunch sprint.
With team riders, Russ Downing and Graham Briggs both local to the area and knowing the roads well, the team will be looking to use local knowledge to their advantage and contest for the stage.
STAGE 3 – MIDDLESBROUGH TO SCARBOROUGH
Terrain: One for the punchy climbers
At 196km and with 2593m of climbing, stage 3 is set to be a survival of the fittest. Billed as the toughest stage of them all and we can expect the GC standings to change at the end of the day.
Six very punishing KoM peaks are the main focus of the day as the race heads into the scenic backdrop of the North York Moors. Côte de Sutton Bank is the first of the six climbs that the riders have to tackle before they head towards the longest climb of the tour, Côte de Blakey Ridge at 4.
From there the race returns to the familiar climbs of Côte de Grosmont and Côte de Robin Hood’s Bay that were visited in last year’s edition. The final two climbs come with 20km to go before the truly gruelling stage comes to an end in the seaside town of Scarborough.
Expect to see the race split up in to several groups and the winner of the stage will most likely come from the group that comes over the last climb of, Oliver’s Mount, first.
We have a selection of other Tour De Yorkshire articles including spectators guides for those looking to see the action unfold, JLT-Condor p/b Mavic riders list highlighting our Yorkshire members and a fun ten facts you might not know about Yorkshire. Also, be sure to keep an eye out for a competition where the lucky winner will receive a bundle from the team.