How will this year's Tour de Yorkshire follow on from last year's hugely successful Tour de France?

The organisers of the Tour de Yorkshire made themselves a tricky little problem to deal with.

What do you do when you have to follow on from such tremendous, perhaps even unexpected, levels of success?

You can’t just fry up the remains of Sunday’s roast dinner and pass it off as the original. Just like the second album that comes after a multi-platinum debut, you can’t re-work the old anthems into a new format and hope to get away with it.

Nor can you wait years to release a second album that features such an abrupt change in direction that it ruins the memory of the original. The people want new material.

Well, by the looks of it, the Tour de Yorkshire is no Second Coming. And as far as we can see, the only Fryup you’ll find is a little hamlet not far from Whitby on stage one.

Of course the new three-day race takes significant cues from what was dubbed the greatest Grand Depart in modern Tour de France history; stage three of the Tour de Yorkshire traces a long section through the Pennines which is almost the exact reverse of part of stage two from last year’s Tour.

Don’t tell anyone, but it even repeats that tiny section of route that crosses into Greater Manchester, just by the Blackstone Edge reservoir on the road from Ripponden to Rochdale.

However those incredible scenes on Holme Moss and Buttertubs Pass are safe in the memory (for now) as the Tour de Yorkshire searches out some new icons of its own.

Tour de France 2014, stage two

Fortunately it hasn’t had to go far. Taking centre stage on the opening day of the new race are the rollercoaster roads through the North York Moors, where every few hundred metres the road turns abruptly, left, right, up or down, or sometimes a combination of all four.

There’s a picturesque series of tough little climbs out of Whitby and Robin Hood’s Bay plus a seaside finish along the promenade at Scarborough; anyone who’s ridden up there will tell you just how hard it is.

The following day we’ll see a sprint finish near Betty’s Tea Room once again, however this time it will be close to the York branch rather than the one in Harrogate, on stage two.

Indeed if anything, organisers have had to shelve exciting new climbs or finishes for later editions of the race; subject to the continued support of local authorities, ASO and Welcome to Yorkshire see this event continuing well into the future.

With time, and a commitment to developing the women’s race and mass participation event that this year will take place on May 2 and 3 respectively, then there’s no reason why it shouldn’t.

Naturally a three-day, 2.1 ranked event will not attract the same top-quality field as the three-week Tour de France, but race organisers hope to encourage classics riders to extend their spring seasons a little longer and come to Yorkshire, while also convincing a number of stage racers that the hilly and demanding route offers something for them too.

With invitations open to British domestic UCI-ranked teams, we can at least guarantee that there will be more Brits on the startline in Bridlington on May 1 than there were in Leeds last July.

Tour de France 2014, stage one

Regardless of the field, the Tour of Britain and Women’s Tour have proved that British fans don’t necessarily need the world’s biggest bike race in order to come out and enjoy watching cycling on the roadside.

What’s more, a good number of those yellow bikes out last summer have scarcely moved from their moorings, and if they have, most will have gone no further than their owners’ garage.

Perhaps it’s stating the obvious, but the 2014 Tour de France will not be back in Yorkshire this May. But we wouldn’t necessarily want it to be.

What matters is that, from what we can tell, cycling’s second visit to ‘God’s own county’ should be just as good as the first.

For more on the Tour de Yorkshire, including an exclusive behind the scenes look at how organisers ASO and Welcome to Yorkshire designed the route for the race, pick up a copy of this week’s Cycling Weekly, out on Thursday January 22.

  • Mark Jones

    It is very pleasing to see ASO keeping their word and providing us with a ‘legacy’ race. Not so much the difficult second album, but more a debut solo album (think Viva Hate, Plastic Ono Band).