Whitby buzzing over Tour de Yorkshire

Samantha Verrill has been picked for the Olympic programme for cycling.
Samantha Verrill has been picked for the Olympic programme for cycling.

Cyclists from across the Whitby area are thrilled at the news that stage on of this year’s Tour de Yorkshire is coming to the area.

The route of this year’s event was ann0unced on Wednesday morning and will take in Whitby, Robin Hood’s Bay, villages throughout the Esk Valley as well as Dalby Forest during the first stage on Friday May 1.

Karl Wittering, owner of Doctor Cranks Bike Shack in Whitby, hailed the news as “absolutely fantastic” and said he took phone calls from people planning street parties for the event, after the route was announced on Wednesday morning.

“I think it will be a great atmosphere,” he said.

“Whitby now probably has more road cyclists than anyone can remember, so it’s far more popular than it has been, not just because of the Tour de France, but cycling in general in this country.”

“I’m glad it’s coming somewhere with stages that will test the riders, so the biggest amount of supporters will be on the big hills.

“It’s going to be fantastic, I’m so excited.”

Caedmon College Head of PE, Julie Mastrolonardo, went to watch the Yorkshire stage of the Tour de France last year and said this year’s event in Whitby was “brilliant” news.

“This is raising the profile of cycling,” she said.

“Cycling is a growing sport – it used to be the odd kid every few years, but people in most year groups are into cycling, as well as triathlons and mountain biking.”

Keen cyclist James Verrill, whose daughter Samantha (15) was selected for an Olympic training programme late last year, said the Tour de Yorkshire was fantastic for the area.

“It will be great to have some of the world’s top riders on our doorstep,” he said.

“Sam is chuffed to bits that it’s coming to our town but she is competing at an Isle of Man year and has ridden with Sir Chris Hoy, said the Tour de Yorkshire was fantastic for the area.

“It will be great to have some of the world’s top riders on our doorstep,” he said.

“Sam is chuffed to bits that it’s coming to our town but she is competing at an Isle of Man stage race.”

James, of Robin Hood’s Bay, said the tour will pass his own front door, while he believes Sledgates, near the finish, could prove a pivotal stage of the race.

He said cycling is becoming “massive” in this country and that British cycling doubled its membership last year.

“It’s becoming the new football or the new golf,” he said.

“The profile of winning Olympic medals has got people wanting to give it a go, and a lot of men into their mid 40s are getting into it.

“They’ve maybe played football all their lives and are wanting to stay fit.

“Cycling is not quite as heavy on the joints.”