Some of the world’s best male and female riders will descend on Yorkshire once again for the second Tour de Yorkshire from 29 April to 1 May.
The three-day men’s event, and Asda Women’s Tour de Yorkshire were launched in response to the incredible success of the county hosting the Grand Depart of the 2014 Tour de France and the first edition, in 2015, attracted more than 1.5million spectators.
Eighteen teams will take to the start line in Beverley on Friday, with a number of world and Olympic champions in the field, alongside many veterans of the Tour de France and UCI World Tour circuit.
Established world tour teams such as Team Sky, Team Dimension Data and Orica GreenEDGE will be alongside UCI Professional Continental squads, including ONE Pro Cycling and UCI Continental outfits such as Team Wiggins.
There will also be big home support for the Great Britain Cycling Team, with a number of academy riders set to represent their country in Yorkshire.
Local boys Frazer Clacherty, Gabriel Cullaigh and Oliver Wood will pull on the Great Britain Cycling Team jersey, fresh from early international duty this season.
Cullaigh is in good form following a third placed finish at the under-23 Gent-Wevelgem event last month, while Wood also took a top ten finish at that event.
Clacherty will swap mud for the road in Yorkshire after recently competing at the UCI MTB Junior Series in Italy, and closer to home, the second round of the British Cycling MTB Cross-country Series.
While there will be fervent backing for those Great Britain Cycling Team riders, perhaps the biggest attraction in the men’s tour is Sir Bradley Wiggins.
Fresh from his incredible Madison world title alongside Mark Cavendish at the UCI Track Cycling World Championships in London in March, Wiggins will be riding in his own team’s colours.
Joining him in the Team Wiggins line-up are two of his Great Britain Cycling Team team pursuit teammates from the championships in London. Fellow world silver medallists Owain Doull and Andy Tennant will ride alongside the first ever British winner of the Tour de France, with Doull looking to build on his impressive third-placed finish at last year’s Tour of Britain.
Another popular team amongst the home crowds is Team Sky, with last year’s Tour de Yorkshire winner Lars Petter Nordhaug returning to defend his title, ably supported by national champion Peter Kennaugh and Luke Rowe, who finished fifth in this year’s Tour of Flanders.
This year’s winner of the prestigious Paris-Roubaix, Mathew Hayman, will represent Orica GreenEDGE, backed up by British rider Adam Yates and Caleb Ewan while Team Dimension Data boast Tour de France stage winner Steve Cummings among their line-up.
Perhaps the biggest name to take part in the festival of cycling lines up in the Asda Women’s Tour de Yorkshire on Saturday 30 April.
Local girl and world champion Lizzie Armitstead will represent the Great Britain Cycling Team, wearing her rainbow stripes as she leads out the peloton from her home town of Otley.
Armitstead is in terrific form in 2016, with victories in the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Strade Bianche, Trofeo Alfredo Binda and Tour of Flanders. She’ll be supported in the Great Britain Cycling Team by the returning Emma Pooley, with the 2010 world champion reversing her decision to retire from cycling following a successful period of competing in long-distance duathlons and triathlons.
Alongside the Great Britain Cycling Team, there’s an opportunity for some younger British riders from the podium programme to get a taste of top-level action as part of Team Breeze.
The women’s race, which offers one of the biggest prize funds in worldwide women’s cycling, boasts an impressive lineup, with Olympic team pursuit champion Dani King representing Wiggle High5, Paralympic champion Dame Sarah Storey racing with her Podium Ambition Pro Cycling team and the defending 2015 champion Louise Mahé part of the Les Filles Racing Team squad.
Full Great Britain Cycling Team and Team Breeze squads will be announced shortly
The 2016 Tour de Yorkshire will take the teams all across Yorkshire, linking together some of the county’s sporting, historic, industrial and literary greats.
Beginning on Friday 29 April in Beverley, stage one is 185km and features two sprint points and one King of the Mountain climb.
Riders will parade around Beverley before the race officially starts at Beverley Racecourse. The route will see the race head west across Yorkshire, passing through Market Weighton, Wetherby and Ripley before finishing in Settle town centre.
History will be made on Saturday 30 April as the women’s race will take place on exactly the same route as the men’s race.
The route begins in Otley, home town of current women’s road world champion Lizzie Armitstead before the race officially begins in Pool-in-Wharfedale.
There are three King/Queen of the Mountain climbs, the final one of which takes place at 11th century Conisbrough Castle. There’s also two sprint points as the route takes riders south across the county before finishing in Doncaster – a total of 136km.
The women’s race starts in the morning, while the men’s race begins in the early afternoon.
The tour concludes on Sunday 1 May with a gruelling 198km route that includes six King of the Mountain climbs.
Beginning in Middlesbrough, the route heads south west towards Northallerton and Thirsk, the first of two sprint points, before changing direction and heading east.
The course takes in a tour of the North York Moors National Park and a sprint in picturesque Whitby before heading south for a sprint finish in Scarborough’s North Bay.
- Daily reports, results and images will appear on the British Cycling website
- Live TV coverage will be provided by ITV4 and Eurosport 2, with daily highlights also on ITV 4. Full details are available on the Tour de Yorkshire website.
- Follow both British Cycling and Tour de Yorkshire on Twitter and join in the conversation by using #TdY.