Tour de Yorkshire comes to Wakefield
Wakefield is welcoming the Tour de Yorkshire Cycle race in May which is expected to attract the elite of the cycling world following the success of last year's Tour de France grand Depart from the county.
Cllr Les Shaw said: "I am delighted that the Wakefield District is welcoming the first ever Tour de Yorkshire on May 3. 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 to put Wakefield on the map and enjoy a great day of cycling in our City."
Welcome to Yorkshire confirmed the full route of the three-day race in a launch event today in Bridlington – where the race starts.
Wakefield will see the first stage of the final day of the race on Sunday, May 3, when the racing will start on the A61 Barnsley Road at Agbrigg, near The Hepworth Wakefield, passing Manygates Centre, Sandal Castle and Newmillerdam before leaving the district at Woolley and continuing to Barnsley en route to finishing the race in Leeds.
Famous Yorkshire cyclists past and present unveiled the route of the inaugural Tour de Yorkshire today in Bridlington, the town where the race will start in May. Ben Swift, Team Sky pro rider and Brian Robinson, the first British man to win a stage of the Tour de France, were in Bridlington to celebrate the international cycle race, a direct legacy of the 2014 Yorkshire Grand Départ, which will take place in 100 days time on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd of May 2015. The race has three stages and includes a women's event on 2nd May, a mass participation sportive on 3rd May and a cultural festival.
Stage one on Friday 1st May will start in seaside town of Bridlington and 174km later finish further up the coast in Scarborough. The riders, from all over the world, will pass through spectacular coastal scenery and the iconic North York Moors landscapes. From the start line in Bridlington the riders will head along the Flamborough Head Heritage Coast before turning away from the coast into the North York Moors National Park, through Dalby Forest and towards Pickering. They'll then take a spectacular journey back to the coast at Whitby, and then south to Robin Hood's Bay with the ultimate race to the finish line on the seafront at Scarborough. The last section of this stage will be particularly tough, especially the climb out of Robin Hood's Bay, which is 1.5km long and has an average gradient of 10.3%.
Stage two on Saturday 2nd May is one for the sprinters, and will see the race start outside the imposing 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 town, which of course witnessed incredible scenes during the 2014 Grand Depart.
As part of the legacy of the Tour de France to get more women cycling there will also be a dedicated women's event on a circuit through York.
The final day, Sunday 3rd May will see the peloton make a return to some of the roads raced in the 2014 Yorkshire Grand Départ of the Tour de France, only with a twist; 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 iconic 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 through the famous cobbled streets of Haworth, one of the most iconic images of the Tour de France in Yorkshire. This is definitely a stage for puncheurs and climbers and a series of short, sharp climbs punctuate the entire route; riders should expect a similar race to the second stage of the 2014 Tour de France. After a steep climb at Goose Eye the riders will once again see Ilkley, with the famous climb up the Cow & Calf before a sprint point at Arthington and then what is expected to be a hugely popular finish line in Roundhay Park in Leeds.
The race will be shown live on television in the UK and across Europe and a huge television audience is expected, once again shining a spotlight on Yorkshire.
The race is being organised by Welcome to Yorkshire and Amaury Sport Organisation (A.S.O.), with support from British Cycling and local authorities throughout the county, especially the start and finish towns and cities; Bridlington, Leeds, Scarborough, Selby, Wakefield, York and North Yorkshire County Council and East Riding Council.
Christian Prudhomme, Director of the Tour de France at A.S.O., 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 inaugural Tour de Yorkshire route takes in places predominantly in areas which missed out on the Tour de France as it passed through Yorkshire. 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".
The Tour de Yorkshire Ride is a mass participation bike ride which promises to be one of the most challenging and popular sportives in the British calendar. Organised by Human Race, it will take place before the pro race on the morning of the final day, Sunday 3rd May and thousands are expected to take part.
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."
Welcome to Yorkshire is also organising a month long Tour de Yorkshire Festival, to showcase the country's rich and diverse 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 the organiser hope it will grow year on year to be one of the biggest events in the cycling calendar and position Yorkshire as the heartland of cycling in Europe.
The stages of the Tour de Yorkshire 2015:
Ø Friday 1st May, stage 1 : Bridlington - Scarborough, 174 km
Ø Saturday 2nd May, stage 2 : Selby - York, 174 km
Ø Sunday 3rd May, stage 3 : Wakefield - Leeds, 167 km