Ride the Tour de France’s Yorkshire stages
The recent Tour de France proved that Yorkshire can mix it with the established stages of the most famous cycle race in the world.
For two days, 2.5 million people gathered on the streets to catch a glimpse of the competitors. Sadly, it wasn’t the best of starts as Britain’s Mark Cavendish, a favourite for the green jersey, crashed out in Harrogate, his mother’s birth city, on the first day. Fellow Brit and bookmakers favourite Chris Froome pulled out five days later and across the Channel.
Yorkshire is a mecca for cyclists with its Dales, which contain 22 Marilyns (peaks of 150m or more) and 28 Hewitts (peaks of 610m or more). If you were hoping to recreate the Tour you would take off in Leeds, follow the route down Ilkey, which picturesquely sits to the right of the River Wharfe, before going into Skipton and taking on the Dales: Pen-y-ghent, Ingelborough and Whernside are the three peaks that you would be tasked with.
Until the Dales, the Tour route is fairly flat and pretty easy but once posed with traversing the contours of the valley the workload increases tenfold. Once the Dales are completed, riders carry on through Ripon, the fourth smallest city in the UK, and finish at Harrogate, where, after 190km, you have earned the right to have a cream tea.
Stage two is a 201km monster. Starting off in York you come back through Harrogate and head towards Huddersfield. This time you get to encounter the famous Yorkshire Moors. Rolling green hills, bendy roads and plenty of ascents and descents, the Moors really are a pleasure to cycle through. Although classed as a flat there are short sharp hills all along the way, while the curving roads make for a tough cycle.
Yorkshire, with the Dales, Moors and Peak District, has proven to be a stellar place to hold the Tour de France and is a fantastic place for any cyclist regardless of their skill. It is pleasant and demanding at the same time.
This post was written by Joe Burton, who is a 21-year-old student studying in Birmingham. He is a member of British Cycling and was an avid spectator at the recent Tour de France. Some of the countries he has cycled in include Italy, Austria, Germany and Switzerland.