Tour de Yorkshire to return to Wakefield district

Tour de Yorkshire - the first part of the route on day two.
Tour de Yorkshire - the first part of the route on day two.

The county's most celebrated cycling race will return to the district again next year, taking in Pontefract and Castleford on a Yorkshire-heritage inspired section of the route.

The Tour de Yorkshire returns for a fourth year from May 3 to 6 next year.

And on the second day, riders will pass through South Elmsall, Ackworth, Pontefract and Castleford as they make their way on a 149km journey from Barnsley to Ilkley.

Coun Jacquie Speight, Wakefield Council's cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport, said: “It is great that we’re welcoming back this fantastic sporting event.

“This prestigious cycle race is an excellent platform to showcase what we have and to bring visitors into the area.

“The previous races were a huge success, which created a lot of excitement in cycling and saw many thousands of people giving their support by lining the route.

"I hope that the tour will be just as successful as in previous years and will give another huge boost to our district.”

Sir Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire and the Amaury Sport Organisation's Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme, announced the route to a packed press conference at the Piece Hall in Halifax this morning.

Mark Cavendish – winner of 30 Tour de France stages – was one of the many star riders in attendance along with a host of Yorkshire cycling legends such as Brian Robinson, Malcolm Elliott and Denise Burton-Cole.

The race has been expanded from three to four stages and will take in 169 villages, towns and cities.

Each stage has a different theme.

Stage one on May 3 will be a 182km 'arts and culture' route from Beverley to Doncaster.

Stage two on May 4 will explore Yorkshire's heritage and will take riders from Barnsley to Ilkley.

The third stage on May 5 will take in the county's market towns on a 184km route from Richmond to Scarboorugh.

And on the final stage, riders will travel 189.5km from Halifax to Leeds, on a route called 'the Yorkshire Terrier' due to its tough climbs.

Sir Gary said: “It was a proud moment unveiling the full route today. We’ve worked hard to design a dramatic and varied parcours which takes in some of our county’s most spectacular terrain. I’m sure the world’s best riders will relish the challenge it poses and we’ll be treated to a tremendous fourth edition.

“Last year’s race attracted 2.2 million spectators and generated £64 million for the local economy, and now that it has been extended from three to four days, the 2018 Tour de Yorkshire promises to be the biggest and best one yet.”

Mr Prudhomme added: “The way Yorkshire supports cycling is incredible and I look forward to seeing more bikes, banners and bunting in 2018.”

Welcome to Yorkshire and Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) organise the event, which is supported by British Cycling.

The Yorkshire Air Ambulance has been confirmed as the official charity for the 2018 race.

Chairman Peter Sunderland said: “We feel really privileged to have been chosen and look forward to working with Welcome to Yorkshire over the next 12 months.

“The Tour de Yorkshire showcases our wonderful county to a global audience and we are grateful for the opportunity to run many valuable fundraising initiatives alongside the race and raise awareness about our life-saving charity.”

The first tour took place in 2015. It forms part of the legacy of the historic Yorkshire Grand Depart in the Tour de France in 2014.