Bridlington has scooped the prestigious honour of starting the very first Tour de Yorkshire cycling race.
Ben Swift, Team Sky pro rider and Brian Robinson, the first British man to win a stage of the Tour de France, were in Bridlington to celebrate unveiling the route of the inaugural Tour de Yorkshire yesterday at Bridlington Spa, 100 days before the event. Stage one leaves Bridlington Spa on Friday 1 May, moving on to Flamborough Head and past Sewerby Hall, before finishing 108 miles further up the east coast in Scarborough.
Gary Verity, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire said: “I am delighted to announce that the start of the Tour de Yorkshire will be in Bridlington, one of the biggest fishing ports in Europe.
“We have called the first stage ‘the stage of beauty’ and it is obvious to see why.”
Bridlington is set for an influx of visitors for the event with organisers expecting around one million people to turn out to watch throughout the race. With many more being able to watch the race on television as it will be broadcast in the UK and throughout Europe.
Town Mayor Shelagh Finlay said: “I am delighted that Bridlington has been included in this great, prestigious event, to follow on from the Grand Départ which was a huge success.
“I am very pleased that Bridlington is being used as a starting point and I hope this will promote the town as a cycling tourist destination.
“It’s the start of showcasing the whole of Yorkshire.”
The route will continue from Flamborough Head before turning away from the coast into the North York Moors National Park, through Dalby Forest towards Pickering. The cyclists will then move back along the coast at Whitby before moving south to Robin Hood’s Bay with the ultimate finish line on the seafront in Scarborough.
The race is being organised by Welcome to Yorkshire and the Amaury Sport Organisation, with support from British Cycling and local authorities throughout the county, especially the start and finish towns and cities.
The race has three stages and includes a women’s event in York on 2 May, as part of the legacy of the Tour de France to get more women into cycling, a mass participation sportive on 3 May and a cultural festival.
Stage two on Saturday 2 May is one for the sprinters, and will see the race start in Selby before moving on to much of the Wolds, Beverley and York.
The final day will see the peloton starting in Wakefield, moving through Barnsley and finish in Leeds.
The public will also have the chance to replicate the professionals for the Tour de Yorkshire Ride. Organised by Human Race, it will take place before the pro race on the morning of the final day, Sunday 3 May and thousands are expected to take part.
Welcome to Yorkshire is also organising a month long Tour de Yorkshire Festival, to showcase the country’s rich and diverse cultural offering. The Yorkshire Festival, which accompanied the Tour de France Grand Depart, will be held in 2016.
Gary Verity added: “Before the Grand Départ had even finished people all across Yorkshire were asking when we can have more cycling! The Tour de Yorkshire will bring back many of the world’s top cycling teams and there will be an opportunity for ordinary people to ride the same roads on the same day in the sportive. And this is a free event to watch so there is an opportunity for everyone in the county to be part of Tour de Yorkshire in one way or another.”
The Tour de Yorkshire will be annual event and the organisers hope it will grow year on year to be one of the biggest events in the cycling calendar and position Yorkshire as the heartland of cycling in Europe.