The Yorkshire 2019 World Championships are just around the corner and the pros will be starting to focus on their chances in one of the most prestigious races on the calendar.
Riders in the elite men’s road race will be taking on 285km of tough racing through the picturesque county, from Leeds to Harrogate, while the women’s peloton will race over 150km starting from Bradford also to Harrogate, with each race taking on different climbs.
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The women will take on three significant ascents on the way – Norwood Edge and the leg-sapping Lofthouse.
There are three major climbs that the men will have to tackle before our new world champion is decided, so Cycling Weekly takes a more in-depth look at the iconic climbs along the route.
The first classified climb the women’s peloton will face is Norwood Edge, just under 20km into the day.
At 1.9km-long it is not the most terrifying climb, but with an average gradient of a terrifying 9.2 per cent riders will have to invest something just to get over, especially where the slopes hit 15.7 per cent at their maximum. But so early in the stage, this will not be decisive moment, although we may look back and see clues that point to the eventual winner.
The Strava Queen of the Mountain on Norwood is held by Tibco-SVB rider Brodie Mai Chapmam, who climbed in 6-28, with an average power of 325watts and at an average speed of 17.5km/h.
This is a big one is for the women’s race – Lofthouse is 4.5km and averages six per cent, with a maximum gradient of 18.6 per cent along the way.
Lofthouse a placed just over 40km into the stage, but it will no doubt narrow the selection of riders who can make it to the line in the front group.
Trek-Segafredo’s Ellen van Dijk is the current QoM holder on the course from the 2017 Tour de Yorkshire, cresting in 13-36
The first of the three major climbs, which all featured in the opening stage of the 2014 Tour de France, is Kidstones Pass.
At around 3.5km and averaging 4.7 per cent, Kidstones is far from the most daunting climb in the area, but any riders struggling as the Worlds peloton come through may still be found out very early.
The climb hits gradients of 13.8 per cent, which shouldn’t challenge the light to middleweight riders, but any heavier sprinters could find themselves trailing early, as the climb comes just 60km into the long day of racing.
A few riders on the Strava leaderboards for the Kidstones segment may ring a few bells, including Marcus Burghardt (Bora-Hansgrohe), Bram Tankink (now retired) and Niki Terpstra (Total-Direct Energie).
The Strava King of the Mountain holder is hill climber Andy Cunningham, who climbed at 27km/h in a time of 7-51, averaging 462watts for the duration.
Just 2.2km-long but at a fairly savage nine per cent average, this middle climb is not to be scoffed at.
Buttertubs will be tackled 90km into the course, which is still too far away for any victory, but the race is likely to be lost here by at least a few hopefuls.
The climb also hits a maximum 15.7 per cent, which is an unwelcome challenge with almost 200km of racing still to come.
Once again, Andy Cunningham is the Strava KoM holder on this segment, rising in seven minutes flat with another staggering average power of 405w.
The final challenge (apart from the daunting finishing circuit) is Grinton Moor, a 3km climb and 6.7 per cent average côte with maximum ramps of 13.5 per cent.
Grinton Moor’s inclusion in the route was thrown into doubt earlier this year when flooding washed away a bridge on the climb, but fortunately the county council responded quickly and built a temporary bridge that the peloton will cross.
Coming 160km still to race, this is again too far from the finish for any attempts at the victory, but the accumulation of altitude metres at this point will still be revealing, so keep an eye out for anyone looking particularly fresh at the top, and watch any teams really ramping up the pace here.
Strava once again offers some insight into what it takes to best this climb, as James King holds the KoM with a time of eight minutes, averaging 312w and holding 28.9km/h.
But with the Worlds peloton set to take on this three climbs, we may see some long-held KoMs fall next weekend.