Thomas Voeckler wins the 2016 Tour de Yorkshire in front of incredible crowds in Scarborough.
Stunning victory in Scarborough
FRENCH hero Thomas Voeckler sprinted clear to claim a thrilling victory as the second Tour de Yorkshire was decided in the final 100 metres.
Voeckler, King of the Mountains in the 2012 Tour de France, finished the third and final stage in Scarborough just ahead of his rivals in a five-man breakaway, who had all been in contention for overall victory.
It was a dramatic finale to three outstanding days of racing, played out in front of vast crowds reminiscent of when the Tour de France visited the county two years ago.
Voeckler began the day 14 seconds behind leader Dylan Groenewegen, who had won the stage one dash into Settle before being pipped by Danny Van Poppel, in a photo finish, in Doncaster the following afternoon.
Two bunch sprints meant just 16 seconds separated the leading 79 riders at the beginning of the race’s toughest stage, which included six classified climbs.
Leeds’s Liam Holohan, riding for Team Wiggins, was in a 10-man breakaway which formed soon after the start in Middlesbrough.
The group had a lead of more than two minutes at one point, but the breakaway was caught by the 110th kilometre as Team Sky increased the pace on the North York Moors midway through the stage.
Sky’s attack, powered by British national champion Peter Kennaugh, put Nicolas Noche and last year’s winner Lars-Petter Nordhaug – who were both at 16 seconds – in a strong position.
But they also took some strong, well-placed riders from other teams with them, including Voeckler, Nikias Arndt, who was at just eight seconds, Serge Pauwels (at 15) and Adam Yates (at 16).
Roche, Yates and Voeckler broke away, alongside Anthony Turgis and Steven Kruijswijk as the race approached Scarborough.
Roche attacked on the final climb, Cote de Oliver’s Mount, but Voeckler went with him and the Frenchman’s greater speed in the final kilometre saw him home.
With a 10-second bonus on the line, Voeckler was champion by six seconds from Roche, with Anthony Turgis third and Yates fourth.
Voeckler said: “I knew I wasn’t the best on the climbs, but I felt really strong on the flat. I was not confident I would win the sprint, because Nicolas Roche is pretty fast. It was really fast and my legs were hurting, but I made the best of my experience and my cold blood.”
Voeckler is hugely popular in Yorkshire.
He said: “I knew that when I rode here last year. I felt bad because I was more cheered than some British riders!
“It was like having a Tour de France stage in my home region, it was so amazing. I am not saying that because I am here, I really feel it.
“To see my name written on the road or on banners held by children really touches me. I have been a rider for 16 years and I have never seen anything like that.”
The climber’s jersey was won by Nathan Haas, Groenewegen was points champion, Sky were best team and Yates was the top-ranked British rider.
Tom Stewart was the leading Yorkshire rider, in 11th. Other Yorkshire finishers were Russell Downing (41st), Gabriel Cullaigh (65th), Tom Moses (66th), Liam Holohan (71st), Josh Edmondson (76th) and Pete Williams (81st).
Roche admitted he was disappointed to miss out, but felt his team Sky, who included last year’s champion Lars-Petter Nordhaug, had ridden a good race.
“We had a plan and we stuck to it,” said Roche. “Coming into the flat straight Voeckler was just a bit quicker than I am.
“It would have been great to get my first win this year, but I think generally the team rode brilliantly and I don’t think I rode too bad.
“It just didn’t work out for us. When I went on the last climb, initially Voeckler wasn’t chasing, but the next thing I looked back and he was coming up to me. I thought ‘oh oh, wrong pick’. Getting into the finish he is the best at that cat and mouse game.”
Roche, son of former Tour de France winner Stephen Roche, described crowds on the roadside as “unbelievable”.
He added: “It is a very well organised race. The stages are well-balanced. Today was a great stage and I definitely hope it has a future, it deserves it.
Yates paid tribute to the work done by his team Orica GreenEdge.
“All day the guys kept me out of the wind,” he said.
Thrilling finish in Scarborough
Race winner Thomas Voeckler made his break for the front on Oliver’s Mount.
Hundreds of people lined the route as it made its way along the race track.
The tour ambassadors stopped at the summit to sign autographs.
One of them, Denise Burton-Cole, said: “It’s been a wonderful spectacle again for Yorkshire, I really hope next year we can get a fourth day”.
Several members of amateur cycling clubs watched the mount climb.
Keith Cadwallader of Scarborough Paragon Club said: “The cyclists themselves say there’s no other race of its size where crowds support them like they do here.
“But that’s Yorkshire for you!”
Whitby welcome for Tour de Yorkshire
There were cheers of delight and applause for encouragement when cyclists passed through Whitby as the final day of the Tour de Yorkshire neared its conclusion.
The pack was pretty spread out giving the several hundreds of people in Whitby that had lined the streets to see the race plenty to shout about.
Crowds packed the main through route in the town centre from Bagdale all the way up to Green Lane, but the sight of the day was riders crossing Whitby’s historic swing bridge just after 3pm today (Sunday) and then coming past the spectacular sight of Whitby Abbey.
Supporters were waving flags, standing on bins to catch a glimpse of the action or peering out of the upstairs windows of shops on New Quay Road and Bridge Street.
Some shops even closed for half an hour to allow staff to see the race on what was already a busy bank holiday weekend in Whitby.
Race fans from all over the country were in Whitby today especially for the Tour de Yorkshire.
Jane Evans from Sheffield said: “When the Tour de France came through Sheffield we were there and it still as exciting to come and watch here. I absolutely loved watching them come through.
“We are here for the weekend and came about an hour before they came through from our accommodation to watch.”
In the Esk Valley there were parties, kids bike races and celebratory post race cocktails and music. Residents in Glaisdale were holding a community Tour@Glaisdale event with the entire race being screened followed by a bbq and bands night at the Robinson Institute.
Back at Grosmont there were puffs of steam from more than just the front runners as the pack crossed the historic railway line as steam engines fired up to celebrate the occasion and the climb up Grosmont hill.
After Whitby the race headed for Robin Hood’s Bay where cyclists took on another grueller of a hill - the climb out of Fylingthorpe and back onto the A171.
Hundreds line the streets of Helmsley
Hundreds of people lined the streets of Helmsley and Kirkbymoorside to welcome the 2016 Tour de Yorkshire.
Despite a constant drizzle the crowds were in good spririts, giving a huge cheers to the heroes on two wheels.
Hundreds of people lined the streets of Helmsley and Kirkbymoorside to welcome the 2016 Tour de Yorkshire.
Despite a constant drizzle the crowds were in good spirits, giving a huge cheers to the heroes on two wheels.
Helen Barclays, who works in Helmsley, said: “It’s a really great entourage.
“I just love the atmosphere and everyone coming together to support them.
“So many people came out it was a great community atmosphere.”
Barbara Laverack, from near Leeds, said: “We went to see it yesterday and we thought it was great.
“I think it’s amazing what it brings to the towns it visits.
“It really did bring our little village out yesterday and it’s the same here. I think it’s wonderful and great fun.”
Janet Wilson, from Pickering, said: “We went to see it last year and we thought it was brilliant.
“It has a real carnival atmosphere and it’s great to see so many people out despite the rain.”
Tour de Yorkshire Stage Two - Otley to Doncaster
Team Sky’s Danny van Poppel won the second stage of the 2016 Tour de Yorkshire, after Kirsten Wild won the women’s race, with technical issues meaning neither race was fully televised as planned.
A historic day in Yorkshire cycling history saw two Dutch riders named winners of their respective races.
Danny van Poppel won the second stage of the 2016 Tour de Yorkshire, after his compatriot Kirsten Wild took the women’s title earlier in the day.
Unfortunately, these moments were only available for those on the route to watch, as television coverage of both races was disrupted.
But, for the thousands who did line the route which took the same route for both races from Otley to Doncaster, a show of cycling splendour.
The morning belonged to Lizzie Armitstead, the local lass attracting huge crowds to the women’s race start in Otley.
It wasn’t to be her day as, just 3km from the finish line in Docaster, world champion Armitstead’s long breakaway was swallowed up by the chasing pack, allowing the 33-year-old Kirsten Wild to take the prize.
Cementing its status as a hotspot for cycling enthusiasts, attention in a sunny Otley soon turned to the beginning of the men’s event.
Team Sky’s Danny Van Poppel won by a photo-finish over reigning blue jersey wearer Dylan Groenewegen in a quite thrilling sprint finish on day two of the Tour de Yorkshire in Doncaster.
Van Poppel won the 135km stage from Otley by the narrowest of margins, squeezing his wheel ahead of Groenewegen’s in the teeming rain on South Parade.
It was a stirring finale and just rewards for the thousands who had waited by the finish line in deteriorating conditions, for the day’s second instalment of world class cycling.
Earlier, Kirsten Wild won the Asda Women’s Tour de Yorkshire in a similarly dramatic sprint finish to clinch the richest prize in the history of women’s cycling, denying Yorkshire heroine Lizzie Armitstead in the process.
Groenewegen’s second place in the men’s race means he retains the leader’s blue jersey going into the third and final day, a testing 198km slog from Middlesbrough to Scarborough on Sunday.
Skipton’s Pete Williams held the jersey for the King of the Mountains after winning it on day one, but he had to relinquish it on Saturday - but only to a team-mate, OnePro Cycling’s Richard Handley.
Frenchman Nicolas Edet of Cofidis, who has always done well on Yorkshire’s roads dating back to the Tour de France Grand Depart in 2014, took the jersey for being the most aggressive rider, after single-handedly chasing down a six-man break that including NFTO rider Josh Edmondson of Leeds.
The peloton in Pontefract
The crowds turned out to get a glimpse of the riders during the second day of the Tour de Yorkshire.
Earlier they got to see the top women racers as the Yorkshire Women’s Race breezed through en route to Doncaster.
And it was Kirsten Wild who took the victory beating Lizzie Armitstead to the richest prize in women’s cycling.
Later the men’s race followed the same route starting in Otley.
Crowds had been gathering along then route since Saturday morning.
They lined the streets from South Milford to Monk Fryston, from Knottingley to Pontefract and Badsworth to South Elmsall to catch a brief glimpse of the peloton as the tour roadshow rolled through, and then out of our district shortly after 4pm.
Live television coverage of the race was patchy as the plane that relays images for broadcast was grounded this morning.
There was no live coverage for the women’s race and coverage was cut short during the men’s race just as the peloton snaked it’s way alongside Kellingley Colliery and into Pontefract.
But out on the streets of Pontefract there was no lack of support for the race and many shared their excitement on social media.
Married couple of 50 years Adrian Pope and Hazel Pope turned out to support the British riders the Tour de Yorkshire riders.
Mrs Pope said; “The tour is good for the county of Yorkshire.”
And Mr Pope said: “I know they had some problems with television coverage and that won’t have shown Pontefract off.”
Lorna Malkin came down to watch the race and says she wants to see more.
She said: “It was very exciting and everyone seemed to love it which topped it off.
“An event like this really puts Pontefract and West Yorkshire on the map because it attracted people to the town.
“Hopefully people will come down and visit Pontefract because of this.
“I just hope that having the tour this year will build on the current legacy and will continue growing and getting better each year - let’s have more of it.
“It proves that Yorkshire is a brilliant venue and it can faultlessly hold a top class event.
“I would love to see it return next year for sure.”
@Karen_Collins1 tweeted: “ Warm welcome from knottingley @letouryorkshire @MyWakefield.”
And @PontefractCivic tweeted: “@letouryorkshire a big thank you @GaryVerity for bringing @letouryorkshire by @PonteCastle and the town Thank you!”
As the riders arrived in Knottingley Wakefield Council tweeted; “Wow! What a spectacle! #TDY.”
And as the team cars rolled through, signalling the riders had moved on, Alistair Watson tweeted: “Most of the kids are now out on their bikes! #inspiration #tdy #TdYPolicePics @letouryorkshire @teamjltcondor.”
Throughout the day Wakefield Council held two community events at South Elmsall market and at Knottingley Sports Centre.
Sunday’s final stage starts in Middlesbrough and should appeal to the climbers, according to race organisers, with no fewer than six King of the mountain classifications, including the infamous Sutton Bank.
Cyclists will follow a 198km route, through much of the north
York Moors National Park, passing through Thirsk and Whitby, before a sprint finish in Scarborough’s north Bay.
The men’s race sets off from Otley
The streets of Otley were packed for the start of the 2016 Tour de Yorkshire men’s race as the town once again underlined its status as a cycling enthusiast’s hotspot.
Many had travelled on bikes for the occasion and the streets were lined with an array of bunting expressing cycling and Yorkshire-themed sentiments.
The peloton raced from the town’s starting point in the West Yorkshire town before climbing out of Pool-in-Wharfedale before hurtling past Harewood House, which memorably provided such a dramatic backdrop for the official race start of the 2014 Tour de France Grand Depart.
Vast crowds lined the roads as the riders turned away from the stately home and began heading towards East Keswick.
Kirsten Wild wins Asda Women’s Tour de Yorkshire
Lizzie Armitstead’s bid for the richest prize in women’s cycling ended 3km from home as Kirsten Wild won the Asda Women’s Tour de Yorkshire in Doncaster.
Wild, 33, from Holland, capitalised when world champion Armitstead’s long breakaway was swallowed up by the chasing pack.
It was a thrilling sprint finish up South Parade in front of thousands of fans, but the great shame of the occasion was that there was no television coverage.
The Women’s Tour de Yorkshire, which mirrored the men’s stage from Otley to Doncaster later in the day, was the richest race in the history of women’s cycling, and was also due to be televised live on both Eurosport 2 and ITV4.
However, the plane that relays pictures back for coverage was grounded this morning, meaning there was no live television broadcast whatsoever.
Organisers were hoping to scramble a replacement plane from Paris for the start of the men’s race at 2.15pm, back in Otley.
While such a scenario prevented the race getting the international exposure joint-organisers Welcome to Yorkshire and the Amaury Sports Organisation craved, it was still another grand day out for the region.
Hundreds lined a route from Otley that beat a 136.5km path through Harewood, Barwick-in-Elmet, Pontefract and past Conisbrough Castle.
For Armitstead, the 2015 world champion, it was a particularly proud moment.
“I never thought I’d get to wear the rainbow jersey on my home roads,” she beamed, just moments after he challenge to win the £15,000 top prize had failed.
“I kind of got involved in the attack by accident, around Conisbrough Castle. I knew I had to keep it going down the descent, there was a little bit of a kicker. I thought I’ll stick it here and see what happens, then I looked behind me and there was two of us, so it wasn’t exactly planned.
“You never know if you can make it stick. It was worth just giving it a go, I wouldn’t have bet on me in the sprint so I thought at least try to make it an interesting race.
“When I saw the lead go from a minute to 30 seconds quickly, that’s when I knew the race was run.”
Despite being unable to win the race, it was a still a memorable occasion for the 2012 Olympic silver medallist from Otley, who won the world road race title in Richmond, USA, last September.
“The start was brilliant,” she said. “I had a couple of bike problems at the start of the race which made it difficult but it was a humbling moment for me at the start, to be able to be supported by my community and the cycling community, which is just massive now in Yorkshire, made me feel really proud.”
Big arrival in Doncaster
The town officially turned yellow and blue as the first group of Tour de Yorkshire riders arrived in Doncaster.
Hundreds of spectators turned out in Bennetthorpe to see some of the world’s best female riders complete the Asda Women’s Tour de Yorkshire.
Yorkshire’s World Champion Lizzie Armistead led the ladies, including eight British women’s teams, over the start line in Otley this morning.
All 17 teams set off on their 135km journey at around 8.25am, crossing the finish line here in Doncaster around three and a half hours later. The first set of riders crossed the finish line six minutes ahead of schedule. The finał riders came through around 20 minutes later.
Fans cheered and shouted “welcome to Doncaster” as riders completed the race. Team Great Britain were awarded purple jerseys as they won the award for best team.
Tour de Yorkshire Stage One - Beverley to Settle
Dylan Groenewegen of Lotto Jumbo NL claimed a thrilling sprint finish victory up the hill into Settle on day one of the Tour de Yorkshire on Friday.
The 22-year-old Dutchman held off the challenge of much-fancied Caleb Ewan of Australian team Orica GreenEdge to take the leader’s blue jersey.
Groenewegen surged ahead in the final 50 metres and held the inside line coming up Duke Street.
It was a day of drama, marked by heavy rain showers and wintry conditions, and also notable for the surprise abandonment of Sir Bradley Wiggins, shortly after the peloton had climbed Cote de Greenhow Hill.
Neither Wiggins, nor the team of his name, would comment afterwards on his decision to withdraw.
There was reason to cheer for Yorkshire cycling fans as Skipton’s Pete Williams, riding for the OnePro Cycling team, claimed the King of the Mountain’s jersey after winning the climb up Greenhow Hill.
Williams, 29, was also rewarded with the jersey for the most aggressive rider.
Racing through the streets of Market Weighton
Excited spectators braved the cold and wet weather to watch world class cyclists speed through Market Weighton and surrounding villages during the first stage of the Tour de Yorkshire today.
Stage one got underway in Beverley at about 12noon and the peloton raced to Holme on the Wolds and then Market Weighton along Londesborough Road, Market Place and Holme Road. The cyclists headed westwards through Holme-on-Spalding Moor, Foggathorpe and Bubwith.
Hundreds of people lined the streets of Market Weighton for the sporting extravaganza, and the town centre was decked out in yellow and blue bunting and Yorkshire flags for the event.
Beverley’s historic day
The eyes of the cycling world against turned to East Yorkshire, as the second Tour de Yorkshire race got underway.
Last year’s inaugural race began on the coast at Bridlington, and this time the market town of Beverley was given the honour of hosting the start.
Sports fans there are more used to watch racing on four legs, rather than two wheels, but around 30,000 people were expected to line the route in the early stages, as the peloton left the town’s historic Saturday Market and headed out towards the racecourse.
The enthusiastic crowds defied the gloomy weather and race organiser Sir Gary Verity said the town should be proud of its efforts.
He said: “Beverley has done really well - it’s looking a picture.
“Look at the thousands of school children here. This is a day that they will remember for the rest of their lives.
“It’s a piece of history for a wonderful town.
“Bridlington did really well last year and Beverley will be equally as good.”
Once again, the biggest cheers were reserved for Sir Bradley Wiggins, but all of his attention was on the race ahead, rather than his birthday celebrations.
The Olympic champion turned 36 yesterday and was presented with a huge cake on stage before the race began, but he passed up on the offer of getting the spectators to sing a chorus of Happy Birthday.
East Yorkshire’s love for the tour was confirmed by local council leader Coun Stephen Parnaby, who promised that the area would bid to host a stage start or finish in 2017 - looking to complete its hat-trick.
“There were 25,000 people in Bridlington for the start last year, 30,000 in Beverley today. People will look forward to it again next year. We shall be bidding again, I can assure you, for a start or a finish.
“It’s a fantastic day and really puts us on the world stage. It’s a great, great opportunity for everybody.”
Despite the wet weather, East Riding town crier, Michael Wood, believes Beverley took the chance to be in the limelight.
“The weather could have been better but we Yorkshire folk are used to that,” he said.
“We’d best hope the cyclists are too. This event will put Beverley on the map with the race being broadcast to 178 countries. We are usually in York’s shadow, but today is our time in the spotlight and I think it is marvellous.”
The streets were painted blue and yellow with visitors dressing for the occasion as the cyclists made their way to Beverley Racecourse for the official start.
Mayor of Beverley, Peter Astell, said: “It is great to see so many people descend on Saturday Market. We as a town council have supported the decoration and interaction and we feel Beverley looks the part for all the coverage which is being broadcast worldwide.
“It is a great occasion and people have turned out in numbers to cheer the riders on which is fantastic.”
Richard Clark from Walkington said: “I am a leader for the BSkyB and we encourage participation into cycling. This is a massive event for Beverley with it being broadcast internationally and I believe the town can only benefit from hosting such an event. There are thousands of people here today that is only going to promote the town and will display and influence others to take up cycling.”
Sue Dewar and John Magee, from Hull, said: “We went along to the Tour de France when it was in the country and we loved it so we thought we would come to Beverley today. We don’t get events to this scale very often and even though the weather is not on our side, people have turned up in their thousands and it certainly is a fantastic occasion.”