Riders face a tough challenge for the inaugural Tour de Yorkshire
Miles Crosby | May 1, 2015
Considering the success of last year’s Tour de France visit to Yorkshire, it’s little surprise that under 12 months later the region will host the inaugural Tour de Yorkshire, a three-day race through ‘God’s own county’ where the scenery is as much a star as the competitors.
The riders will have a harsh start to the race, as the peloton transverses the up-and-down roads of the North Yorkshire Moors for the the first stage, running between the seaside resorts of Bridlington and Scarborough. After a picturesque ride through the narrow roads of Dalby Forest, the route heads to Rosedale for a brutal climb out of the steep sides of the valley.
They will then head to the to the seaside town of Whitby before racing down the coast to finish in Scarborough. The hilly and narrow roads of the stage may favour a breakaway, but the flatter finish will see a thrilling chase as the peloton try to pull them back.
Stage two will be a slightly easier day, at least in the beginning, as the race moves through the flatter Yorkshire Wolds. Starting in Selby, the riders will head east to the town of Beverley taking in the first of only two significant climbs in the day. From there it will head North to Malton taking in a second climb.
From there, the peloton will race to York for a series of lighting fast laps around the city centre. Any breakaway is bound to be swallowed up as the teams force the pace to try and bring their sprinters into play at the end of the stage.
British team JLT Condor may hope to show up the big European teams here, as their man Olympic Gold medallist Ed Clancy has won a race in York before. He will be an outside chance but will be highly motivated to prove himself.
German Marcel Kittel (9/2 second-favourite in the event outright betting with Coral), who sprinted to win the Leeds to Harrogate and London stages of Tour de France last year, will be the man to watch for stage two, however. He is 6/5 to win stage one.
The third and final stage of the race is likely to be explosive as the riders have their last chance to fight for overall lead of the race. This hilly route will cover many of same roads that last year’s Tour de France stage 2, one of the most beautiful and thrilling of the race, as it takes a winding road from Wakefield to Leeds.
Expect huge crowds on the Cow and Calf climb just outside Ilkley; the climb in will be in the final hour of the stage and may be the chance of a decisive attack. The road flattens out towards the end, however, and it could give the sprinters teams the chance to pull back any breakaways and set up a final sprint.
That, then, is the route, but what of the riders who will race it? British hero, former Tour de France winner and multiple Olympic Gold medallist Bradley Wiggins (40/1 outright) will be there to lead his new youth development team, Team Wiggins, after leaving Team Sky earlier this year. He is unlikely to compete for overall honours, but will nonetheless be a huge draw for the crowds.
Yorkshire will be represented by a host of riders, including Team Sky’s Ben Swift (11/4 Tour favourite) and one of British top domestic riders Russ Downing (40/1), who both hail from Rotherham, as well as Barnsley’s Clancy.