One Pro Cycling’s Chris Opie admits he spent a lot of time in first gear on stage one of the Tour de Yorkshire, with a number of challenging climbs on the route between Bridlington and Scarborough.
The Ardennes-esque climbs didn’t relent over the course of the 174km route, with the first real test in Dalby Forest coming after a 50km warmup.
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It may only be half a mile long, but an average gradient of 10 per cent (maxing out at 17.7, according to Strava) meant even the best of professionals were left puffing at the top.
The route may not have taken in the arduous Rosedale Chimney, but organisers did throw in the relatively mountainous Rosedale Abbey climb, averaging five per cent over the 3.6-mile ascent.
And if the riders weren’t tired enough by the time they approached Scarborough, they had to get over the Robin Hood’s Bay climb, averaging 11 per cent over 0.9 miles.
Opie and co were slowed to around 8mph, while BMC’s Classics expert Greg van Avermaet topped the leaderboard with an average of 10.9mph.
Opie rolled over the line in the last group, some 16 minutes down on winner Lars Petter Nordhaug, and will surely be hoping for a more relaxing day on stage two.