After wowing fans with the Tour de France Grand Depart back in 2014, Yorkshire in the UK has gone on to build a name for itself in the cycling world.
Drawing massive crowds and creating tough and punchy routes, 2018 will see the region showcasing its credentials once more as it puts on the Tour de Yorkshire for the fourth year running.
The race has been a favourite for the likes of Thomas Voeckler who has finished on the overall podium twice (winning it once in 2016 and finishing third in 2015) and Dylan Groenewegen who has won the most stages with two and a third place finish in another.
Love this picture of Haworth from @keitsuji. #TDY #tourdeyorkshire #Repost @keitsuji with @repostapp ・・・ Beautiful scenery, huge crowd and great atmosphere. I've spent three specials days here in Yorkshire, again. Now @letouryorkshire is over and my next race is @giroditalia #tourdeyorkshire #tdy 📸: @keitsuji / @tdwsport
However, the ranks will be bolstered next year by Manxman Mark Cavendish who last raced on the roads of Yorkshire in 2014 where he crashed on the opening stage on the run in to Harrogate, forcing him to abandon the race that year.
The former World Champ had hoped to race the most recent edition but 2017 was a year blighted by fever and injury which saw him sit out.
“I would have been here this year but I was at home watching with glandular fever,” the Manxman said, as reported by Sky Sports.
“It was incredible to see our guys win on the final stage and Lizzie [Deignan] smash it in to Harrogate. I wanted to be there.
“Hopefully I don’t get get glandular fever again and I’ll try to be on the start line in Yorkshire. I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t intend to race.”
The Tour de Yorkshire 2018 Route
Starting off in Beverley on May 3 2018, the race will cover 704.5km in just four days before finishing in Leeds city centre.
Stage one: Beverley – Doncaster, 182km
The first day will head to Doncaster city centre where the sprinters will battle it out in the first of the race’s two sprinting stages. The likes of Cavendish, Caleb Ewan and Nacer Bouhanni will get the chance to flex their muscles and potentially take the race leader’s jersey.
A few climbs have been thrown in the early part of the day with the Côte de Baggaby being the only classified climb of the day. After that two intermediate sprints will be up for grabs for any potential breakaway riders to nab.
Stage two: Barnsley – Ilkey, 149km
Stage two will provide an opportunity for the puncheurs in the race with three classified climbs cropping up on a lumpy, but if that wasn’t enough the last of them, Côte de Cow and Calf, will feature as the race’s first ever summit finish.
With an average gradient of 8.2% over 1.8km, the day’s final climb will do well to see the race leader’s jersey change hands after the race’s initial sprint finish the day before.
By the end of the day, riders will have tackled 1992 metres of climbing on what is the shortest day of the four.
Stage three: Richmond – Scarborough, 184km
The second of the two sprint stages, stage three won’t be as straightforward as the race’s first day. Two lumps are situated in the first and latter part of the stage and thy aren’t easy.
Côte de Sutton Bank is the first to come up and houses a 12% gradient over 1.4km, waking up any legs that day that may still be asleep. Then 51.5km from the end, riders are faced with the Côte de Silpho, which while not as a instense as the first climb of the day will definitely hurt being 1.5km at 8.2% in the last part of the stage.
Finishing the day in Scarborough may lend itself to previous riders like Groenewegen who won here on a sprint finish last year so it’ll be familiar territory for the Dutchman.
Stage four: Halifax – Leeds, 189.5km
The old saying goes, “save the best until last” and that’s exactly what the race organisers have done this year as they finish the Tour with six classified climbs over 189.5km making it a mammoth day.
Starting in Halifax, the day will see riders clamber up 3,400 metres as they first head north through the undulating moors before turning back on itself and heading south towards Leeds.
As the peloton heads south, riders will face climbs like Greenhow Hill and Otley Chevin before it caps off in Leeds city centre, on the same spot where the 2014 Tour de France Grand Depart took place.