Millions of spectators will line the route for the four-day men’s race and two-day women’s race which run between Thursday 3 May – Sunday 6 May.
The full schedule and race timings can be viewed online now at letour.yorkshire.com/timings
Over 2.2 million people stood roadside last year to cheer on these two wheeled titans. Yorkshire knows how to support a bike race and Welcome to Yorkshire as an organisation strongly promotes these events. This kind of support just isn’t seen in most races in the cycling calendar. Secondly, the terrain. Yorkshire is as beautiful as it is brutal and the riders know that taking part in the Tour de Yorkshire will be rough and rewarding in equal measure.
Cyclists want a challenge and Yorkshire provides that in abundance. As Aqua Blue Sport rider Matt Brammeier summed up quite perfectly; “Without pain and suffering we would be nothing and life would get pretty boring. [The Tour de Yorkshire] provided a fair share for me this weekend but I bloody loved every minute.”
For the women taking part in the two-day Asda Tour de Yorkshire Women’s Race, there are other aspects of huge significance. Most important of all is the parity that the race brings. The race takes place on the same roads that the men tackle. The race has one of the largest prize pots in women’s cycling and it gets the same, full television coverage that the men’s race does – exposure that is crucial for riders, teams and sponsors alike.
The 2017 event was particularly enthralling viewing as a world class field including Olympic Road Race champion, Anna van der Breggen, lit up the roads from Tadcaster, through the Yorkshire Dales. The finishing podium was made up of a two-time World Champion, Giorgia Bronzini and American pocket rocket Coryn Rivera. However, the top spot was reserved for someone much closer to home. The Yorkshire flags in Harrogate were waved all that bit more vigorously than usual as the county’s very own hero, Lizzie Deignan, spectacularly sprung a solo attack with 15km to go and powered her way to victory.
“The finish was so special and so surreal and it meant so much to me to receive such great support,” Deignan said afterwards. “It was incredible and I’m struggling to get my head around it. This is up there with the biggest wins of my career, definitely.”
This year sees both races move into new ground; as the Asda Women’s race doubles in length to become a two-day race and the men’s race also gains an extra day, taking it from three to four.
From a racing perspective, this is exciting as it gives both races more time to develop and it presents the stage planners with more chances to create truly spectacular stages.
From a fans perspective, it gives more people more opportunities to see their cycling heroes and allows for more of Yorkshire’s remarkable scenery and brutal climbs to be showcased too. On top of this, 50 per cent of the host towns for this year are first time hosts, with Barnsley, Halifax, Ilkley and Richmond joining Beverley, Doncaster, Leeds and Scarborough in welcoming this year’s race.