It is an exciting time of year for us Yorkshire folk as some of the best cyclists from around the world compete on our roads and show off our county to the rest of the world. Not only do we have the 3 day long men’s race we also are treated to the full women’s peloton racing the full route of the 2nd stage including World Champion and Yorkshire lass Lizzie Armitstead along with a Emma Pooley who is looking to make the Olympics squad with some Rio courses that are perfectly suited to her abilities.
Beverley to Settle – 185 km with around 1,600 m of climbing
The weather may well be the determining factor as to how important this stage is in the race as if the prevailing South Westerly is blowing then this could be a very tough stage. Starting near the coast in Beverley the route heads West across the exposed Vale of York which acts as a warm up for what’s to come. The route heads into the Dales with the obvious crux being the climb of Greenhow from Pateley Bridge with its 4 steep ramps leading to the open moorland above. Many times as a youth have I struggled through a ferocious head wind at the summit which was equally hard as the climb itself. A short but steep climb on the finishing loop around Settle will see the final breaks attempt to go clear before the finish line in front of Ye Olde Naked Man Cafe.
Otley to Doncaster – 136 km with around 1,000 m of climbing
Heading from the women’s World Champion’s home town of Otley the route to Doncaster looks on paper to be set up for the sprinters but with the strange weather we’ve been having of late (snow last weekend and plenty of strong winds) it is anyone’s guess how hard this race could be. Think back to last year’s Tour of Britain and the stage across the Peak District to Nottingham to see how tough a rare easterly wind can get around these parts even when avoiding the worst of the hills.
Fingers crossed for a Yorkshire double with Lizzie taking the win in the ladies followed by Team Sky’s Ben Swift (from Doncaster’s neighboring town of Rotherham) or JLT Condor (and ex Team Sky) Russell Downing who is also from Rotherham.
Middlesbrough to Scarborough – 198 km with around 2,400 m of climbing
Tackling a number of the climbs featured in last year’s stage 1 of the race but with a more inland approach to Scarborough along with the inclusion of the final stinging climb up Oliver’s Mount just 6 km from the finish will make for a scintillating grand finale.
Final 11km to the finish on Scarborough’s promenade: