Elite racing returns to Yorkshire this weekend, with the inaugural Tour de Yorkshire a legacy of the phenomenal Tour de France Grand Depart last year.
The three-day race, organised in conjunction with Tour de France organisers ASO, has attracted WorldTour teams including Team Sky, Marcel Kittel’s Giant-Alpecin and BMC Racing, alongside Sir Bradley Wiggins’ eponymous new UCI Continental team.
Rolling out of Bridlington on Friday (May 1), the race takes the peloton to Scarborough, then from Selby to York and then on an undulating route from Wakefield to Leeds where the first winner will be crowned.
But what can we expect from the stages, which local villages are preparing to embrace in much the same way they did the Tour last year?
Twelve Yorkshireman will tackle the race on their home county roads and we caught up with one of them – Russell Downing – to get the inside track on the stages.
Fellow Yorkshireman Ben Swift, meanwhile, will lead Team Sky’s charge on his home roads and has also been offering his thoughts on how the race might play out.
Read on for what both men had to say over the following pages.