Whitby and the Esk Valley ready to welcome the Tour in 99 days

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Whitby will play host to the new Tour de Yorkshire race with a huge section of the route coming through the town and the Esk Valley.

It was announced on Wednesday that the cycle race, organised after the huge success of last year’s Grand Depart, will come to the area in what is set to be a huge boost for the local economy.

Stage 1 of the race, which will start in Bridlington in 99 days time on Friday May 1, will cover 174km of our spectacular coast and countryside and the iconic North York Moors landscapes.

From the start line in Bridlington the riders will head along the Flamborough Head Heritage Coast before turning away from the coast into the North York Moors National Park, through Dalby Forest and towards Pickering.

They’ll then take a spectacular journey back to the coast at Whitby, and then south to Robin Hood’s Bay with the ultimate race to the finish line on the seafront at Scarborough.

The last section of this stage will be particularly tough, especially the climb out of Robin Hood’s Bay, which is 1.5km long and has an average gradient of 10.3%.

Stage two takes place on Saturday May 2 and is one for the sprinters. The race will start outside Selby Abbey taking in much of the Wolds, and from Selby will take the peloton towards Market Weighton, through North Newbald and on to Beverley, where they will turn north to Malton, then on to Stamford Bridge.

The final day, Sunday May 3 will see a return to some of the roads raced in the 2014 Yorkshire Grand Départ of the Tour de France, only with a twist.

Starting in Wakefield, riders will travel south to Barnsley before heading to Holmfirth where they pick up the Grand Départ route in reverse, racing to Ripponden before riding the iconic Cragg Vale – which in the Tour de France was the country’s longest continual climb and now becomes the longest continual descent.

The riders will then make their way to Hebden Bridge, Oxenhope and through the famous cobbled streets of Haworth, one of the most iconic images of the Tour de France in Yorkshire.

A series of short, sharp climbs punctuate the entire route and after a steep climb at Goose Eye, riders will once again see Ilkley, with the famous climb up the Cow & Calf before a sprint point at Arthington and then what is expected to be a hugely popular finish line in Roundhay Park in Leeds.

The race will be shown live on television in the UK and across Europe and a huge television audience is expected, once again shining a spotlight on Yorkshire.

It is being organised by Welcome to Yorkshire and the Amaury Sport Organisation, with support from British Cycling and local authorities throughout the county.

Gary Verity, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire said; “Before the Grand Départ had even finished people all across Yorkshire were asking when we can have more cycling. The Tour de Yorkshire will bring back many of the world’s top cycling teams and there will be an opportunity for ordinary people to ride the same roads on the same day in the sportive. And this is a free event to watch so there is an opportunity for everyone in the county to be part of Tour de Yorkshire in one way or another.”

Christian Prudhomme, Director of the Tour de France at Amaury Sport Organisation, said; “After the grandest of Grand Départs of the Tour de France, we were keen to return to Yorkshire. With its stunning landscapes, iconic cities and tough climbs, Yorkshire offers all the ingredients needed for a great cycling race. The welcome we received in Yorkshire in July 2014 was simply spectacular and I am very much looking forward to returning there in May for the Tour de Yorkshire.”