The full provisional start list for the inaugural Tour de Yorkshire has been revealed, with Yorkshire favourites Ben Swift (Team Sky) and Russell Downing (Cult Energy Pro Cycling) set to join already-announced headline acts Sir Bradley Wiggins (Team WIGGINS) and Marcel Kittel (Giant-Alpecin).
The Tour de Yorkshire will be Wiggins’ first race for his self-styled team having left Team Sky after Paris-Roubaix, while Kittel has recovered from injury and will look to continue his love affair with UK roads after recording six victories in Britain and Ireland last year.
The German will be among the favourites for stages one and two, with Swift, Matteo Pelluchi (IAM Cycling) and Tour Down Under stage winner Steele von Hoff (NFTO) among the other sprinters on show.
The undulating third and final stage, from Wakefield to Leeds, will see the likes of Wiggins, Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix podium finisher Greg van Avermaet (BMC Racing), his veteran team-mate Samuel Sanchez, Sebastien Henao (Team Sky) and Thomas Voeckler (Team Europcar) bid to seal overall victory.
Steve Cummings (MTN-Qhubeka) and Andy Fenn (Team Sky) also fly the British flag, while British champion Peter Kennaugh is among Team Sky’s reserves for the race.
Leading domestic riders on the start list include Tour of Britain King of the Mountains winner Mark McNally (Madison-Genesis), Elite Road Series champion Yanto Barker (One Pro Cycling) and British under-23 time trial champion Scott Davies (Great Britain).
The race departs from Bridlington on Friday May 1 and will be preceded, the evening before, by a free Eve of Tour Celebration at the Eye of York from 6pm to 7.15pm.
After leaving Bridlington the peloton races to Scarborough, where the first ever leaders’ jersey will be awarded, before stage two takes the peloton from Selby to a circuitous finish in York, which will see a women’s race held earlier in the day.
The final stage, from Leeds to Wakefield, takes place on Sunday May 3 and boasts six short and steep categorised climbs in all, including the ‘Cote de Scapegoat Hill’ (2.2km at 8.3 per cent) and Otley’s ‘Cote de Chevin’ (1.4km at 10.3 per cent).
Tour de Yorkshire 2015 – teams and leading riders (provisional)
BMC Racing (USA): Samuel Sanchez (ESP), Greg van Avermaet (BEL)
Cofidis (FRA): Nicolas Edet (FRA)
Cult Energy Pro Cycling (DEN): Russell Downing (GBR)
Great Britain (GBR): Scott Davies (GBR)
IAM Cycling (SUI): Matteo Pelucchi (ITA)
JLT-Condor (GBR): Kristian House (GBR), Tom Moses (GBR)
Madison-Genesis (GBR): Erick Rowsell (GBR), Tom Stewart (GBR)
MTN-Qhubeka (RSA): Matt Brammeier (IRL), Steve Cummings (GBR)
NFTO (GBR): Ian Bibby (GBR), Steele von Hoff (AUS)
One Pro Cycling (GBR): Yanto Barker (GBR), Marcin Bialoblocki (POL)
Rompoot Oranje Peloton (NED): Wesley Kreder (NED)
Team Europcar (FRA): Thomas Voeckler (FRA)
Giant-Alpecin (GER): Marcel Kittel (GER), Lars van der Haar (NED)
LottoNL-Jumbo (NED): Steven Kruijswijk (NED)
Team Raleigh GAC (GBR): Steve Lampier (GBR)
Team Sky (GBR): Sebastien Henao (COL), Ben Swift (GBR)
Team WIGGINS (GBR): Owain Doull (GBR), Sir Bradley Wiggins (GBR)
Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise (BEL): Tim DeClercq (BEL)