Big-time bike racing returns to Yorkshire just 10 months after the Tour de France started in Leeds.
This weekend’s inaugural Tour de Yorkshire (May 1-3) is set to capitalise on the frenzied enthusiasm that engulfed the county last July, with a demanding three-stage route and a reasonable-quality field.
Bunting is in short supply in anticipation of a fantastic three days of racing, further boosted by a final road race appearance from Bradley Wiggins in the first outing for his new, eponymous team. Don’t expect a bid for overall honours from Wiggins; think of it more as a 500km lap of honour.
The man behind the race, Welcome To Yorkshire’s Gary Verity, is all too aware of the Wiggo factor.
“You’re coming to see a piece of history, so bring the kids and bring your grandkids because they’ll remember that for the rest of their lives, where they stood on the side of the road to salute, to hail one of our nation’s greatest sporting champions of all time,” he said.
I reckon the place to be will be the picturesque Cow and Calf climb at Ilkley, which features in the final hour of Sunday’s third stage into Leeds.
Be warned though, it’ll be packed with crowds to rival those on the slopes of Holme Moss at the Tour’s Grand Départ.
Robert Garbutt is editor of Cycling Weekly
There’s a full preview for the Tour de Yorkshire in this week’s Cycling Weekly magazine (April 30 issue), on sale from Thursday