The full route for the 2018 Tour de Yorkshire was unveiled yesterday at the Piece Hall in Halifax and the fourth edition of the race has been expanded from three to four stages and will take place between 3-6 May 2018.
Welcome to Yorkshire Chief Executive Gary Verity led a packed press conference on Tuesday morning with the Amaury Sport Organisation’s Tour de France Director Christian Prudhomme.
Mark Cavendish – winner of 30 Tour de France stages, a UCI Road World Championship and numerous other accolades – was one of the many star riders in attendance along with a host of Yorkshire cycling legends such as Brian Robinson, Malcolm Elliott and Denise Burton-Cole.
The four-day race takes covers all four corners of the county and takes in 169 villages, towns and cities along the way:
STAGE ONE: 182km – ARTS AND CULTURE – BEVERLEY TO DONCASTER Thursday 3 May
The race gets going in Beverley’s historic market place before proceeding to the seaside resort of Hornsea. The peloton will then tackle a 16km loop before heading back through Beverley and into the Yorkshire Wolds. The first classified climb at Baggaby Hill will get the legs pumping before a brisk descent into Pocklington for the opening intermediate sprint.
After passing through Holme-on-Spalding Moor the pace will gradually ramp up again for a second sprint in Howden and then it’s full steam into Doncaster on the newly opened Great Yorkshire Way. The riders will sweep past the world-famous Racecourse before a flat-out finish along South Parade.
STAGE TWO: 149km – YORKSHIRE HERITAGE – BARNSLEY TO ILKLEY Friday 4 May
The peloton will start outside Barnsley’s impressive Town Hall and head towards Penistone. The route ventures into Worsbrough and the first mountains classification points are up for grabs at Blacker Hill. With those in the bag the race will pass through Elsecar before an intermediate sprint is contested in Swinton.
Conisbrough Castle provides a stunning backdrop before the riders continue north for a second intermediate sprint in Scholes, and Harewood House also makes an appearance prior to the classified Côte de Old Pool Bank climb.
The route will then pass through Otley and Ilkley before reaching the race’s first-ever summit finish on the Cow and Calf. In an added twist, King of the Mountains points will also be on offer right before the stage winner is crowned on top of this iconic Yorkshire climb.
STAGE THREE: 184km – MARKET TOWNS – RICHMOND TO SCARBOROUGH Saturday 5 May
The riders will roll out of Richmond’s cobbled market place and head to Catterick Garrison before the start flag is lowered. They’ll then traverse Wensleydale and continue in an easterly direction at Leyburn, on to Morton on Swale where the first intermediate sprint will be fought out.
Northallerton and Thirsk will then provide warm welcomes, and no sooner have the riders crossed into the North York Moors than they’ll be faced with the fearsome Sutton Bank climb. The first contenders over the top there will be rewarded with points in the mountains classification. The action then passes through Helmsley and on to Pickering for a second intermediate sprint.
The climbers will be looking to come to the fore again on the Côte de Silpho before the race breezes into Scarborough for the first time. Hugging the east coast, the peloton will continue on to Filey and sample its picturesque seafront before heading inland and back towards Scarborough. The frontrunners will sweep along South Bay, around the castle walls, and onto the now-legendary finish along North Bay.
STAGE FOUR: 189.5km – THE YORKSHIRE TERRIER – HALIFAX TO LEEDS Sunday 6 May
The Piece Hall in Halifax provides a spectacular location for the start of this decisive stage and the first of six categorised climbs comes on the Côte de Hebden Bridge. The race will head up the cobbled Main Street in Haworth before dropping into Goose Eye for the next punishing ascent. Crossing from Brontë Country into Craven, the route heads through Skipton and the next climb is looming on Barden Moor.
The action will then head into the Dales before the riders contest the first intermediate sprint in view of Kilnsey Crag. The Côte de Park Rash will no-doubt cement its place in Tour de Yorkshire folklore as the peloton grind their way up it, and the route continues on to Masham and then into Nidderdale before making a return to the formidable Côte de Greenhow Hill for the first time since 2016.
The undulating terrain never relents and shortly after passing through Otley the next categorised climb is on the cards at Otley Chevin. If that wasn’t enough, the Côte de Black Hill Road must also be crested before the race sweeps into Leeds and reaches a rip-roaring conclusion on The Headrow – on exactly the same spot as where the Tour de France started in 2014.
Gary Verity said: “It was a proud moment unveiling the full route today. We’ve worked hard to design a dramatic and varied parcours which takes in some of our county’s most spectacular terrain. I’m sure the world’s best riders will relish the challenge it poses and we’ll be treated to a tremendous fourth edition.
“Last year’s race attracted 2.2 million spectators and generated £64 million for the local economy, and now that is has been extended from three to four days, the 2018 Tour de Yorkshire promises to be the biggest and best one yet.”
Christian Prudhomme said: “Gary and his team have done a fantastic job and I am excited by what next year’s route has in store. I enjoy coming to Yorkshire and the county always puts on a tremendous show.
“Seeing the race finish on The Headrow in Leeds will be particularly special and bring back a lot of happy memories from when the Tour de France started there in 2014. I still regard that as one of our grandest Grand Départs and I’m sure we’ll be in for another memorable day. The way Yorkshire supports cycling is incredible and I look forward to seeing more bikes, banners and bunting in 2018.”