This piece was originally written for and published on Cycling Torque. Visit www.cyclingtorque.com to read my full post.
I doubt that many of the Yorkshire folk who pitched up at road side would know that mountains classification winner Pieter Weening took a fantastic Tour de France stage win in 2005 millimetres ahead of Andres Kloden – but I’m not sure how much that matters. The Tour de Yorkshire was far more than a 2.1 UCI road race; it was a showcase for ‘God’s own country’ and an example of how to host a fully-fledged sporting event just three years after inauguration.
Whilst a lot of credit should go to Sir Gary Verity and his team, the rolling hills of Yorkshire were primed for a cycling race long before 2015. It wouldn’t have been much of a struggle to craft an interesting and challenging route through Yorkshire with wonderfully named climbs such as Buttertubs Pass, Rosedale Chimney and Fleet Moss, plus lands such as the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Niddersdale, and the coastlines of Whitby and Scarborough. Yorkshire has long been a home for many British riders and it’s no surprise the race already comfortably rivals the longer, older, Tour of Britain.
There are plenty of famous climbs that Verity has so far kept up his sleeve. In order to maximise support, recent routes have endeavoured to visit as many villages and towns as possible.
If UCI ratings were classified on crowd support, there can be no doubting the Tour de Yorkshire would be top tier. If the UCI ratings were based on the amount of bunting tied across village rooftops, the race would be in a class of its own. The bunting – typically blue and yellow – was a common sight as the race weaved through Tadcaster, Haworth and Harrogate. It seems to be a simple and very British touch; a craze that hasn’t quite caught on in Flanders, Limburg, Milan or Paris….