Tour de Yorkshire route announced: will the 2017 race be the toughest yet? - Road Cycling UK

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Tour de Yorkshire route announced: will the 2017 race be the toughest yet?

Climbs, cobbles and wide-open moorland on 2017 route, with exciting sting in the tail

The route for the third edition of the Tour de Yorkshire could also be the most brutal, with a real sting in the tail of what promises to be an enthralling three days of racing.

Launched as a legacy event following the Tour de France Grand Depart in 2014, Lars-Petter Nordhaug and Thomas Voeckler have emerged victorious at the two editions to date, on courses characterised by heavy roads and short, steep climbs.

But the 2017 route packs in more thigh-numbing climbs, wide-open moorland and even cobbles than the previous two years did, which should make for a promising three days in the White Rose county.

Lars-Petter Nordhaug and Thomas Voeckler have won the two editions of the Tour de Yorkshire run to date but the 2017 edition promises to be the toughest yet (pic: Alex Broadway/SWpix.com)

Rolling out of Bridlington on the county’s east coast on Friday April 28, the race follows an undulating 173km route to Scarborough, via the Yorkshire Wolds.

Stage two offers some respite, heading from Tadcaster to Harrogate, where the stage will finish with the same uphill sprint as the first stage of the 2014 Tour de France did.

The 2017 Tour de Yorkshire starts in Bridlington and finishes in Sheffield’s Fox Valley (pic: ASO)

But stage three promises to be the toughest stage of the race’s short history to date; the 194.5km route from Bradford to Sheffield’s Fox Valley has been dubbed  the “Yorkshire Terrier” by organisers, but “Yorkshire Terror” may have been more fitting.

Eight classified climbs feature in all, including the brutal cobbled ascent of the ‘Cote de Shibden Wall’ (1km at 13.5 per cent average gradient), with an exciting classic-like stage a fitting way to crown the overall winner.

While stage three will steal the headlines, however, the GC is likely to already have been pulled apart on the first stage, with three categorised climbs and countless other uncategorised ascents to tackle.

The Cote de Goathland (1.3km at 9.7 per cent) offers a platform for some long-range attacks, while the wide-open moorlands and the exposed ride down the coast from Whitby to Scarborough is also ripe for catching out the under-prepared.

A Tour de Yorkshire favourite, the Cote de Robin Hood’s Bay (1.5km at 10.3 per cent), also features but, unlike in 2014 and 2015, the winner in Scarborough is far from guaranteed to keep the yellow-and-blue jersey.

Stage one finishes in Scarborough, where the 2016 race ended (pic – ASO)

The second stage, from Tadcaster to Harrogate, should favour the sprinters if the sprint teams maintain a decent control over the break and the speed of the bunch.

Marcel Kittel triumphed on Parliament Street at the Tour de France in 2014, with positioning key for the fast men before the uphill sprint.

The same course will also be used for the Women’s Tour de Yorkshire, which was won last year by Kirsten Wild.

Stage two, the route of which is also being used for the Women’s Tour de Yorkshire, finishes on Parliament Street in Harrogate, where Marcel Kittel claimed the first yellow jersey of the 2014 Tour de France (pic – ASO)

Next year’s showpiece stage is without doubt stage three, however, which promises to blow the peloton apart with unrelenting climbing en route from Bradford to Sheffield.

The stage features 3000m of climbing in 194.5km of racing, with Shibden Wall among the highlights – one of two cobbled ascents around halfway into the stage.

Haworth’s main street (0.6km at 10.6 per cent) gives a taste of what is to follow, but Shibden Wall, which features a maximum gradient of nearly one in four, will claim some victims.

There’s some respite as the peloton follows the route to Sheffield, but the final 22km are then packed with plenty more climbing – four categorised ascents in all, all short but all thigh-numbing.

Deepcar (1.7km at 8.5 per cent) is first, followed almost immediately by Wigtwizzle (1.4km at 9.1 per cent) and Ewden Height (1km at 12 per cent).

Also known as “Deliverance”, after the 1972 film of the same name, the Strines Road climb is another which touches a maximum gradient just short of one in four.

Stage three, which packs in eight short, steep climbs – including the cobbled ascent of Shibden Wall and local favourite “Deliverance” promises an enthralling end to the weekend (pic – ASO)

That could be the platform for the race-winning move, but there’s still one more climb to come, at Midhopestones – a 1.4km climb with an average gradient of 10 per cent – from where it is five kilometres downhill and onto the finish line.

Yorkshire lends itself to exciting racing, and organisers hope this will be the most exciting – and toughest – Tour de Yorkshire yet.

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