The World Championships return to the UK for the first time since 1982, as rainbow jersey hopefuls will be tackling brutal courses through Yorkshire.
Both the men’s and women’s road races will take on gruelling, though very different, routes through the picturesque countryside in the north of England, before the winner is decided on a tough finishing circuit in Harrogate.
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Earlier this year, Cycling Weekly donned the leg and arm warmers, and braved the unpredictable spring weather to ride some of the key features on road race courses.
The men’s road race, taking place on Sunday, September 29, covers 285km from Leeds to Harrogate, racing over the Yorkshire Dales before finishing with seven laps of the finishing circuit.
Riders will tackle three major climbs – Kidstones Pass, Buttertubs and Grinton Moor, all which feature in stage one of the 2014 Tour de Yorkshire.
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.
Just 2.2km-long but at a fairly savage nine per cent average, this middle climb is not to be scoffed at.
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.
The women’s race, on Saturday, September 28, covers 149km of a different course from Bradford to Harrogate, finishing with three laps of the circuit.
With two different but equally daunting climbs to take on, Norwood Edge and Lofthouse, this will be an attritional race with the winner well deserving of their year in the rainbow bands.
Racing kicks off on Saturday September 21, with Para-cycling road races. That weekend will also include the newly formatted team time trial on Sunday September 22.
The week will throw up individual time trials for men, women and juniors, plus junior men and women’s road races.