As the weather warms up, thousands of cyclists are dusting off their bikes after a winter of hibernation, and preparing for a fun year of riding. One of the highlights of the calendar is always the highly successful Tour de Yorkshire, and whether you’re eagerly awaiting it or haven’t even heard of it, then we’ve got everything you need to know.
As it returns for its third year, the 2017 Tour de Yorkshire is offering even more of the fabulous scenery, buzzing atmosphere and nail-biting pro-racing which made its name. We’ve created a handy preview to the whole three days to get you in the mood and help you work out the best way to watch it; whether that’s from the comfort of your own home or close enough to smell the adrenaline on the course itself. Last year the Tour de Yorkshire drew over 2 million spectators, and with two UNESCO World Heritage Sites joining the route this time around, the stage is set for an unforgettable race.
As you might have guessed, we have the Tour de France to thank for the Tour de Yorkshire. The latter was born from the huge success Yorkshire had as hosts to the Tour de France’s Grand Depart in 2014, when the county was gripped by cycling fever. Having inspired that passion, it’s been revived every year since to great acclaim and this year could be the best yet. ‘God’s Own Country’ will welcome the world’s finest male and female pro peloton riders on Friday 28th April for three days of brutal and brilliant racing. Among the global figures hungry for glory will be Otley-born Lizzie Deignan (who you may know better as Lizzie Armitstead), Cycleplan’s very own brand ambassador. It’s her first race since the Rio Olympics and we know we’re not alone in being extremely excited to see her back in action.
Lizzie and her Boels-Dolmans teammates will be facing some stiff competition, though, with 17 other teams trying to pip her to the trophy. The men’s lineup is no less intimidating, featuring some of the biggest names in world cycling – from BMC and Sky to Mark Cavendish’s Dimension Data.
But as experienced as many of these riders are, Yorkshire’s roads and lanes will not be taking it easy on them.
The three men’s stages will treat riders to a pretty robust tour of the whole county, with a total distance of 990km! Here we’ve outlined where the riders will be and when, so if you’re thinking of heading down you can find the perfect spot.
DAY ONE: Friday 28th April – Bridlington to Scarborough
The 2017 Tour de Yorkshire kicks off in the gorgeous coastal town of Bridlington Spa at 12:35, heading south west towards Pocklington for the first of the intermediate sprints (expected around 13:48). When the peloton moves north, things will get steep quickly.You can enjoy the first of the classified climbs up the Côte de Garrowby Hill around 14:06 and then again on Goathland about an hour later. There’s another sprint when they rejoin the coast in Whitby around 16:03, before taking in Robin Hood’s Bay for a final climb and a sprint finish at 17:00 in Scarborough.
DAY TWO: Saturday 29th April – Tadcaster to Harrogate
Stage 2 follows the same route as the Asda Tour de Yorkshire women’s race, with visits to some of the county’s most picturesque market towns. If you want to see the start, be on Tadcaster Bridge at 9:15 as Lizzie and the rest of the pro-women set off. The sprinters will fight for the first intermediate points in Knaresborough at 09.53, before allowing the climbers to take centre stage on Côte de Lofthouse an hour later. Known as Lofthouse Hill for the rest of the year, it’s a name that is disarmingly friendly, since the riders are at risk of getting dropped for 4.5km at an average gradient of 6% before they can bunch again. There’s another sprint at Ripon (11.38) before passing the world-famous Fountains Abbey and gearing up for the big stage finish in Harrogate an hour later at 12.27, the same finish line that the Tour de France organisers chose on Parliament Street in 2014.
If you want to catch the men in action, their route is exactly the same, leaving Tadcaster at 14.03, sprinting in Knaresborough at 14:40, and hitting the Lofthouse climb around 15.31. They will start crossing the finish line in Harrogate at around five in the evening.
DAY THREE: Sunday 30th April – Bradford to Fox Valley
You may want to pay even closer attention to the Stage 3 route, as you can actually test your legs on this route in the morning ahead of the pros if you want. The sportive Fox Valley to Fox Valley still has spots available at the time of writing and gives you the option of riding either 45KM, 75KM or 100KM – which is handy since the pro course is the toughest ever in the history of the race.
Setting off from Bradford City Park at 12:10, the pro route heads for Saltaire, then takes in part of the 2014 Tour de France route at Burley-in-Wharfedale, before rolling past Bolton Abbey on the way to the Yorkshire Dales. After passing through Skipton, we get the first of the eight – yes, eight – categorised climbs around 14:04, and the riders should pass over the cobbles at Shibden Wall 50 minutes later.
There won’t be long before the sprinters get stuck in at Clifton (15.09), and you’ll want to be in Stocksbridge around 16.47 to catch the last of the intermediate sprints.
But if you think there’s a flat spin to glory, you’re very much mistaken. A nasty 22km loop awaits, which holds four categorised climbs before the finale in Fox Valley around 17.15pm.
(We’d recommend keeping up to speed with the race online on the day as the conditions may mean racers get to each spot a bit before or after these predicted times).
The event is bike and family friendly, so even if you don’t feel like securing a spot on a prime bit of roadside, you can watch all the action on one of the big screens, find out more here.
Coming to a screen near you…
For many of us, practical or geographical factors will mean we have to follow the action on telly, but there’s nothing to stop you from getting kitted up in your lycra while you do it. For Sky viewers, Eurosport will be covering every single thrilling moment, and for everyone else –just turn over to ITV4 or watch online at ITV.com.
We hope you’re as excited about the race as we are. But whether you’re cycling to the 2017 Tour de Yorkshire, or inspired to spin out at the next available opportunity, make sure you’re well covered with Cycleplan insurance to keep you and your bike safe wherever you go.
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