One million roadside fans watch epic 2017 Tour de Yorkshire finale

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A record one million fans turned out to watch the epic finale to the 2017 Tour de Yorkshire which saw Serge Pauwels claim the stage and overall victory.

Not since the 2014 Tour de France Grand Départ has Yorkshire experienced such a huge figure on a single day of racing, and that bumper crowd on Sunday helped ensure the third edition was officially the biggest one yet with overall attendances rising from 2 million to 2.2 million year on year.

Entire communities turned out on the roadside to witness the peloton pass though as they traversed the 194.5km route from Bradford to Fox Valley, Sheffield, and each of the day’s eight categorised climbs were also packed with masses of cheering, colourful and enthusiastic fans. The parcours was also lined with incredible, eye-catching land art as pictures of Yorkshire were beamed to a record 180 countries globally.

Spectators were treated to exciting action as well with Pauwels breaking clear on the tough concluding loop and he was joined by Dimension Data team-mate Omar Fraile before the race concluded in Stocksbridge, Sheffield.

The duo then pressed home their advantage with Pauwels leading Fraile over the finish line to seal the biggest victory of his career and a 1-2 for his team who also topped the Doncaster Sheffield Airport and FlyBe Team Classification. Jonathan Hivert (Direct Énergie) rounded out the podium six seconds later.

Those same three riders also claimed the top three positions on the General Classification with Pauwels taking the blue leader’s jersey sponsored by Welcome to Yorkshire. Australian Caleb Ewan (Orica-Scott) won the Yorkshire Bank Points Classification, Dutchman Pieter Weening (Roompot–Nederlandse Loterij) sealed the Virgin Trains King of the Mountain prize, and fans on Twitter voted Dexter Gardias (Bike Channel Canyon) the Most Aggressive Rider sponsored by Dimension Data.

[News item based on press release provided by Welcome to Yorkshire, posted 28th April 2017.  Photograph copyright Bronte Country.]

A dramatic start to the Tour de Yorkshire 2017

The third annual Tour de Yorkshire got off to a dramatic start on Friday 28th April 2017 with Dylan Groenewegen winning the opening stage for a second year in succession.

Unfortunately, however, a large crash near the finishing line in Scarborough took out many of the riders, with Magnus Cort Nielson (Orica-Scott) and Marco Haller (Katusha) coming off worst and being transferred to hospital with suspected broken collarbones.

Huge crowds turned out along the route, which started in Bridlington and wound its way inland through the Yorkshire Wolds and then up in to the North York Moors before a frantic finish along North Bay in Scarborough back on the Yorkshire Coast.

An eight-man breakaway formed after 15km and Etienne Van Empel (Roompot) was the first of those riders to top Garrowby Hill and Goathland to earn himself a spell in the best climber’s jersey.

The last escapees were finally caught with 8.3km to go, but before then the peloton had been split to shreds on the ride to Robin Hood’s Bay.  Groenewegen was one of several star sprinters to drop off the pace on that steep ascent but his LottoNL-Jumbo team-mates worked hard to bring him back into contention and the Dutch champion repaid that faith, just as he did in Settle in 2016.  The 23 year old powered to the line and held off a late challenge from Orica-Scott’s Caleb Ewan once again for his first win of the season.  The bonus seconds awarded for that victory meant Groenewegen opened up a four-second advantage over Ewan in the General Classification and ensured he will wear the blue leader’s jersey sponsored by Welcome to Yorkshire for the second stage.

For information about Stage Two of the race, please see the separate news item on the Yorkshire Dales website entitled “The Tour de Yorkshire comes back to the dales again“.

[News item based on press release provided by Welcome to Yorkshire, posted 28th April 2017.]

Host venues for TdY 2017 announced

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The six host venues for the third “edition” of the Tour de Yorkshire have now been unveiled.

Racing for the third edition will begin or end in the cities and towns of Bradford (pictured above), Bridlington, Fox Valley (Sheffield), Harrogate, Scarborough and Tadcaster.

Organisers Welcome to Yorkshire and the Amaury Sport Organisation (A.S.O.) revealed the chosen towns which will see the three-day men’s race held from Friday 28 April to Sunday 30 April 2017. The women’s race will be held on Saturday 29 April 2017.

The second edition took place earlier this year and achieved significant growth on the back of an impressive debut in 2015. The number of roadside spectators increased from 1.5 to 2 million and the race attracted 11.4 million global TV viewers, up from 6 million in 2015. The event also boosted the local economy by £60 million and 2017 promises to continue that trend following the news that the Yorkshire region will host the UCI Road World Championships in 2019.

Sir Gary Verity, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said: “In just two years the Tour de Yorkshire has become one of the biggest and best races on the professional cycling calendar. Riders are overwhelmed by the support they receive on the roadside and the racing is among the most exciting you will see all season.

“The third edition will continue that progression and the attention it receives will be greater than ever given that we have just succeeded in bringing the UCI Road World Championships to the county in 2019.

“The world’s best cyclists will be using the 2017 Tour de Yorkshire as a first dress rehearsal for that and we’re planning a course that will challenge and impress them in equal measure.

“I’m delighted the race will visit all four corners of the county and all six host towns will put on a brilliant show.”

Christian Prudhomme, Director of the Tour de France at the A.S.O, said: “The Tour de Yorkshire has done itself proud in building a lasting and hugely-successful legacy on the back of the 2014 Grand Départ. The race is a true success story and we are thrilled to be working in partnership with such a great team at Welcome to Yorkshire. We’re looking forward to another fantastic edition in 2017.”

The full 2017 race route will be unveiled in December 2016 – this announcement will include exact start and finish locations and the distance and profile of the race.

[News item based on press release supplied by Welcome to Yorkshire, posted October 2016.  Photograph copyright Bronte Country.]

Road Cycling Championships to come to Yorkshire

On Wednesday 12th October 2016 it was announced that the historic county of Yorkshire will host the UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) World Road Championships in 2019.

Following on from the success of the Grand Depart of the Tour de France in 2014 and the setting up of an annual “Tour de Yorkshire” event the securing of the UCI World Road Championships further consolidates Yorkshire‘s reputation for hosting international cycling events.

International cycling returns to the Yorkshire region

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The Bank Holiday weekend of May 2016 saw the second “Tour de Yorkshire” cycling event taking place in Yorkshire.

On Friday 29th April 2016 the men’s race started out in the East Yorkshire market town of Beverley from where the cyclists travelled through the gently rolling countryside of the Yorkshire Wolds to Market Weighton and then on to Riccall and Tadcaster in the Vale of York. It was then on to Knaresborough and along LowerNidderdale to Pateley Bridge with the first “King of the Mountains” climb at Greenhow Hill, the pink jersey for the day being won by One Pro Cycling’s Pete Williams (who comes from nearby Skipton and won the day’s grey jersey for “combativity” too).

The peloton then descended in to Grassington and through Cracoe and Hetton, Gargrave, Coniston Cold, Hellifield and Long Preston to finish (via a sprint loop out to Giggleswick Scar) in Settle.

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The first stage was won by Dylan Groenewegen of the Netherlands for Team LottoNL-Jumbo.

The second stage of the men’s race took place the following day, with the riders setting off from Otley to Harewood and Pontefract to finish the day at Doncaster in South Yorkshire.

There was also a women’s race which took place on the same route the same day
competing, though unfortunately there were technical problems with relaying live coverage of this and the men’s event too. Hitec Products’ Kirsten Wild won the women’s race, while Team Sky’s Dutch Danny van Poppel took Stage Two for the men.

The men’s racing continued on the third and final day, with the third stage starting out from Middlesborough on the Yorkshire Coast and heading inland through Guisborough and Great Ayton down to Northallerton and Thirsk in the Vale of Mowbray.  From there came the “Category One” climb up Sutton Bank and on to Helmsley in Ryedale, Kirkbymoorside and Hutton le Hole before another strenuous climb up over Blakeley Ridge and down in to Grosmont to meet the Yorkshire Coast at Whitby.

The rest of the route ran along the Yorkshire Coast southwards through Robin Hood’s Bay to the final finishing line at Scarborough, with Direct Energie’s Thomas Voeckler both the winner of the stage and also the full three day race overall as well.

Tour de Yorkshire hailed a great success

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After three days of racing the inaugural Tour de Yorkshire has been hailed a tremendous success.

The event, which took place over the Bank Holiday Weekend on 1st – 3rd May 2015, was arranged as a “follow up” to the Grand Depart of the Tour de France (which of course was held in Yorkshire the previous year) is expected to run on an annual basis, with this year’s racing taking in the North York Moors, the Yorkshire Coast the Vale of York, the rolling hills of the Yorkshire Wolds as well as the challenging ascents of West Yorkshire’s Bronte Country.

Starting out on Friday 1st May 2015 Stage One peloton set off from Bridlington and passed through Dalby Forest (itself already famous for its mountain biking events), PickeringRosedaleWhitby and Robin Hood’s Bay before ending the day in Scarborough. The stage was won by Team Sky’s Lars Petter Nordhaug of Norway with some riders including Yorkshire born Ben Swift and Eddie Dunbar (the youngest racer in the event) having crashed out of the race on an unexpectedly slippy descent in to Grosmont.

Saturday 2nd May 2015 saw Stage Two of the event, with the riders setting off from Selby and cycling east in to the Yorkshire Woldsand then looping back westwards for an exciting finish in York, where a separate women’s race was held earlier in the morning.  Ikon-Mazda’s Louise Mahé won the women’s event, while Team Lotto’s Moreno Hofland from the Netherlands won Stage Two for the men.

The third stage of the event on Sunday 3rd May 2015 began in Bronte Country and saw world class road cycling competition returning to some of the terrain covered by the Grand Depart in 2014, though this time tackled in the opposite direction. As such Cragg Vale above Calderdale became the event’s (and the country’s) longest continuous descent (in the Grand Depart it was a gruelling ascent) in to Hebden Bridge and on to Haworth‘s famous main street, and a new section through Oakworth and Goose Eye on to SilsdenAddingham (where it is rumoured that the event was watched by the British Prime Minister, David Cameron), IlkleyOtley and a grand finish at Roundhay Park in Leeds.

BMC Racing’s Ben Hermans of Belgium won Stage Three, but the overall winner of the whole event (besides the people of Yorkshire of course !) was Team Sky’s Lars Petter Nordhaug, with BMC Racing’s Samuel Sanchez of Spain and Europcar’s Thomas Voeckler of France coming in second and third place respectively.

An estimated 1.5 million spectators turned out at the roadside to watch the racing at over the three days in scenes reminiscent of the Grand Depart of the Tour de France the previous year. It would seem that the historic county of Yorkshire‘s reputation as a welcoming and challenging destination for cycling events at the international level has been secured for years to come !