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.]
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.]