York­shire cy­cle race a real Tour de force!

Huddersfield Daily Examiner - - FRONT PAGE -

TOUR de York­shire or­gan­is­ers are hop­ing for their strong­est-ever lineup next year ahead of the county host­ing the 2019 UCI Road World Cham­pi­onships four months later.

Wel­come to York­shire chief ex­ec­u­tive Sir Gary Ver­ity has un­veiled the route for the four-day Tour at the start of May, which will give riders their best op­por­tu­nity of scout­ing some of the roads for the World Cham­pi­onships to fol­low in Septem­ber.

Stage 2, from Barns­ley to Bedale, will in­clude the town cen­tre cir­cuit in Har­ro­gate – which will fea­ture on ev­ery event in the World Cham­pi­onships – and an in­ter­me­di­ate sprint on what will be the Par­lia­ment Street fin­ish line for the worlds.

“With the UCI Road World Cham­pi­onships also tak­ing place in York­shire next year, we’re ex­pect­ing our strong­est-ever field,” Ver­ity said.

“This will be the only chance the riders get to sam­ple the Har­ro­gate cir­cuit un­der race con­di­tions be­fore it, and the only chance they get to ride up Par­lia­ment Street against the usual flow of traf­fic.”

As ever, or­gan­is­ers have in­cluded a num­ber of new in­no­va­tions for what will be the fifth edi­tion of the race.

This year, the women’s race will take place on the mid­dle two days of the men’s four-day race, mean­ing it will con­clude on the Satur­day and en­able larger crowds to take in the day’s dou­ble-header.

The men’s race – newly up­graded by the UCI to 2.HC sta­tus, the high­est out­side the World Tour – be­gins on Thurs­day, May 2, with a 178.5km stage from Don­caster to Selby via the York­shire Wolds.

The next two days will see the men and women’s pelo­tons con­test en­tirely iden­ti­cal routes, 132km from Barns­ley to Bedale on the Fri­day and 132km from Bridling­ton to Scar­bor­ough via the North York­shire Moors on the Satur­day.

The men’s race con­cludes with a 175km stage from Hal­i­fax to Leeds through the York­shire Dales on the Sun­day.

With the women this year us­ing ev­ery inch of the men’s route, it will make for the long­est and hardest edi­tion of the women’s Tour de York­shire yet at 264km long with 3,200 me­tres of climb­ing.

“I’m proud that we’re con­tin­u­ing to lead the way when it comes to pro­mot­ing women’s cy­cling,” Ver­ity added.

“Chang­ing the start of the women’s race from Thurs­day to Fri­day should guar­an­tee greater ex­po­sure and the routes for the two stages are now ex­actly the same as the men’s.

“That means there’s over 1,000m more cu­mu­la­tive climb­ing than last year and we’ll be in for some en­thralling racing.” The fi­nal stage of the men’s race is vir­tu­ally iden­ti­cal to the one used last year – and scene of Stephane Ros­setto’s stun­ning solo vic­tory – but that too is an in­no­va­tion. Or­gan­is­ers plan to use the route, start­ing in Hal­i­fax’s Piece Hall and in­cor­po­rat­ing the pun­ish­ing climbs of Goose Eye, Bar­den Moor, Park Rash, Green­how Hill and Ot­ley Chevin, reg­u­larly in fu­ture editions of the Tour to make it a sig­na­ture stage of the event.

Chris­tian Prud­homme, di­rec­tor of the Tour de France and chief of ASO which also or­gan­ises the York­shire race, said: “We want The York­shire Clas­sic stage of the men’s race to be­come one of the most an­tic­i­pated dates on the pro­fes­sional cal­en­dar.”

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