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Tour de Yorkshire Preview

Here's our preview of the 2017 Tour de Yorkshire; featuring Stage 2 starting in our hometown Tadcaster.

Tour de Yorkshire 2017 Riders head up through the cobbled streets of Haworth in the 2014 Tour de France

This weekend marks the third edition of the Tour de Yorkshire; the bike race given to us as part of the legacy left by the visit of the Tour de France in 2014. As in previous editions, the men's race takes place with three stages spaced over Friday, Saturday and Sunday. In addition to the men's race, the women's race has also evolved to now feature a full one day race event following the same route as one of the stages.

This year, rather excitingly, the TdY features a stage which begins in Tadcaster; the home of Cyclesense.

Not only do we get stage 2 of the men's race, but the women's one day event is also starting in Tadcaster, meaning a full day of racing in the town.

Here's our preview of what the race will entail for both riders and spectators, with tips on where to watch the race and the riders we think will figure in each stage...

STAGE ONE - Bridlington - Scarborough - 173km - 28/04/2017

Click for an enlarged map of the stage

Stage one travels from Bridlington to Scarborough, but it's not the simple 15 mile journey up the A165 the riders would've liked. Riders will instead head west along the bottom of the Yorkshire Wolds through the likes of Driffield, Kilburn and North Dalton before hitting the picturesque market town of Pocklington.

It's in Pocklington where riders will hit the first intermediate sprint of the day, attempting to score points towards claiming the sprinter's green jersey. Out of Pocklington riders will head up the first classified climb of the race: the Cote de Garrowby Hill. The break of the day will likely scoop up all the points towards wearing the king of the mountains jersey.

From Pocklington riders wind their way north through the Wolds to Pickering and Malton, eventually contesting another classified climb in Goathland. Following this riders will swiftly head downhill and out to the coast at Whitby. There'll be no time for fish & chips though as riders start to head south. With a tailwind forecast for this section of the race, the pace will be fast & furious as the bunch attempt to chase down the breakaway. The final climb of the day is the Cote de Robin Hood's Bay, which has featured in all three editions of the race.

The race will likely be back together by the top of the climb, with the sprinters' teams attempting to take control of the race. The likes of Orica-Scott, Cofidis and Team Sky will try keep the pace high to stop any late solo attacks from those brave enough to try. It's all downhill to a flat finish in Scarborough where a bunch sprint is likely along the seaside.

Riders to watch: Caleb Ewan (Orica-Scott), Adam Blythe (Aqua Blue Sport), Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis), Dylan Groenewegen (Lotto NL - Jumbo), Danny Van Poppel (Team Sky)

Places to watch the race: Cote de Goathland. Beautiful scenery and the racing will well and truly be on when riders reach this climb.

STAGE TWO - Tadcaster - Harrogate - 123km - 29/04/2017

Click for an enlarged map of the stage

Our club took on this stage back in March. Steeeep!

It might be the shortest stage, but this is the big one (for us at least). Stage two travels from Tadcaster to Harrogate and features the beautiful Yorkshire Dales.

We cycled the whole stage with our cycling club back in March and it was a fairly tough day!

From Tadcaster, the race heads out to our neighbours in Boston Spa and Wetherby before hitting the first intermediate sprint of the day in Knaresborough. That first section of the day is fairly easy with only gently rolling hills. It's from Knaresborough that the roads start to deteriorate in quality and become more undulating. Yorkshire roads make for tough racing due to the heaviness of the surface compared to the silky smooth asphalt in France and Spain and the riders will start to feel this here.

The riders head to Pateley Bridge with the only categorised climb of the day looming large at Lofthouse. In the middle of Nidderdale, the Cote de Lofthouse starts off brutally steep and only gets worse, with gradients in excess of 20% (1 in 5). The stage is expected to finish in a sprint as it's largely gently rolling hills from the top of the climb to the finish. However, because the stage is so short the breakaway will have a chance of staying away if they have a big enough gap when they reach Masham.

Riders to watch: Brent Bookwalter (BMC), Scott Thwaites (Dimension Data), Caleb Ewan (Orica-Scott), Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis)

Places to watch the race: Tadcaster. There's only one option, really.

There's lots going on in the town on the day. We have the women's race starting early at 9:10am on the recently opened bridge and the men are setting off later in the afternoon. Tadcaster is hosting its very own festival of cycling. Our bar, Everything Good Goes, is hosting a Tour de Yorkshire party from morning until late and will be showing the racing live on big screens.

Tour de Yorkshire 2017 Thomas Voeckler doing what he does best

STAGE THREE - Bradford - Fox Valley Sheffield - 194.5km - 30/04/2017

Click for an enlarged map of the stage

The longest stage of the three day race is also the most brutal. From Bradford to Fox Valley, the day features eight categorised climbs and almost no flat roads.

Heading north from Bradford, the race goes through Ilkley and along the valley road to Bolton Abbey. It then heads up into the Dales towards Grassington before turning and heading south again to Skipton. B the time they reach the first climb of the day the riders' legs will likely already be sapped after a tough start with a group trying to force a breakaway. The Cote de Silsden is followed by the traditional Cote de Haworth cobbled climb and riders will then enjoy the feed station at Queensbury where they will need to take on some energy ready for the climbs to come.

In Halifax the riders will take on the aptly named Cote de Shibden Wall. A cobbled road featuring gradients of 30% (1 in 3), the Shibden Wall is undoubtedly, on paper, the toughest climb of the race and is certain to break the race up if it's not already in pieces anyway.

The race then skirts around Huddersfield before heading to Holmfirth. From here the riders head east to Stocksbridge for what is sure to be the deciding moment of the race, with a finishing circuit containing four categorised climbs in a short space of time. By the last climb, the Cote de Midhopestones, we may well know who will take the 2017 title.

Reigning champion Thomas Voeckler has had a quiet season so far, but he'll be well up for a stage like this one.

Riders to watch: Steven Kruijswijk (Lotto NL - Jumbo), Daryl Impey (Orica-Scott), Thomas Voeckler (Direct Energie), Serge Pauwels (Dimension Data), Samuel Sanchez (BMC), Pieter Weening (Roompot), Lars Petter Nordhaug (Aqua Blue Sport), Ian Stannard (Team Sky)

Places to watch the race: Midhopestones is the last climb of the race and will be the best place to go to see the racing unfold. However, to soak up the pure pain and suffering of the riders I'll be heading over to Halifax and Shibden Wall.

Cheers,
Sam Allen

Published Thursday 27 April 2017

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