The race has also been upgraded by the UCI and is now just one step below WorldTour level

The host locations for the 2019 Tour de Yorkshire have been confirmed, including Halifax, Leeds and Scarborough.

Organisers revealed on Thursday the eight places the race will visit next year, as they UCI upgraded the event to just one level below WorldTour status.

Taking place from May 2-5, 2019, the Tour de Yorkshire will now be a HC category race – the highest status for a stage race outside of the WorldTour level.

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Organisers confirmed that the town of Bedale will feature in the race, after recently being announced as part of the 2019 World Championship event.

Redcar was also announced as a host town for the 2020 edition.

Chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, Sir Gary Verity, said: “It’s always exciting to unveil the host towns for the Tour de Yorkshire and this year is no exception.

“We’re thrilled that Bedale will be making its debut as the town gave the riders an amazing reception when they passed through earlier this year, and I’m sure Redcar will also excel in 2020.

“The other locations have already proven themselves as more than worthy recipients and we cannot wait to return.”

The host towns of the 2019 Tour de Yorkshire have been confirmed

The full route will not be announced until December 7, but organisers did confirm that the Harrogate circuit will be included in the Tour de Yorkshire.

A loop of Harrogate will be a key feature of the World Championship course in 2019, when the UCI race is held in Yorkshire.

Director of the Tour de France, Christian Prudhomme, said: “The Tour de Yorkshire is a true success story and in just four years it has grown to become one of the best attended and most dramatic races on the cycling calendar.

“We are delighted to be working in partnership with such a great team at Welcome to Yorkshire and I know our eight start and finish locations will put on a real show in 2019.”

The Tour de Yorkshire was launched in 2015 as a legacy of the 2014 Tour de France Grand Départ in Yorkshire.

In 2018, 12.5million people watched the race on television from 190 countries, according to the organisers.

The stages for the fifth edition will begin or end in: