The 2019 Tour de Yorkshire route has been announced and the 5th edition of the men’s race promises to be a race of two halves. Stages 1 and 2 are relatively flat affairs that should on paper be ones for the sprinters (although Harry Tanfield had different ideas last year on a so-called bunch sprint day). Stages 3 and 4, on the other hand, contain 5 categorised climbs apiece (and plenty more undulations in between) and offer opportunities for the type of breathless, flat out and unpredictable racing that we are now becoming accustomed to from the Tour de Yorkshire.
The men’s race will take place between 2-5 May and has been promoted to HC status (just one level below the World Tour). The women’s race meanwhile (titled the Asda Tour de Yorkshire Women’s Race) takes place between 3-4 May. An innovation here is that both stages will be raced on exactly the same routes as the men’s.
With the 2019 World Championships coming to Yorkshire in September 2019, the organisers are also using the race to preview the Worlds’ finishing circuit in Harrogate. No doubt this will help to attract a strong field of riders planning on chasing rainbows come September. Last year’s Tour de Yorkshire winner Greg van Avermaet is already a confirmed starter.
No teams have yet been confirmed but I’d expect four British Continental teams to be invited to take part (at a guess: Madison Genesis, Canyon dhb p/b Bloor Homes and Vitus Pro Cycling p/b Brother, plus one other), as well as the Great Britain national team, as in previous years.
Here’s a closer look at the parcours…
Stage 1 starts in Doncaster in South Yorkshire. The route snakes east then west, finishing in Selby. It’s a flat stage, and the day’s only categorised climb, Baggaby Hill, should be far enough from the finish to prevent any late attackers escaping the peloton’s grasp. This should the kind of day where we will see the Continental teams scrap it out to get into the day’s breakaway and fight for the right to take the first sprints and king of the mountains jerseys. And who knows, maybe a rider like Jacob Hennessy could challenge for top honours in the expected bunch finish.
Stage 2 is another relatively flat affair, and short at 132km. But it does have the added spice of featuring the Harrogate finishing circuit that will be used later in the year for the 2019 Worlds road race. This will add intrigue but should not prevent the sprinters having their day when the race finishes in Bedale. This will also be Stage 1 of the women’s race.
Stage 3 will end in Scarborough, a finish that has featured in every edition of the race so far. It has regularly offered up massive crowds and spectacular finishes, and you wouldn’t bet against more of the same in 2019. Starting in Bridlington, the stage will head north into the North York Moors National Park. The Côte de Silpho is the first of five categorised climbs, and with the route hugging the coast as it hooks back down to Scarborough, crosswinds could add yet more challenge. This stage will also be the second and final stage of the women’s race.
Stage 4 is almost identical to last year’s Stage 4. It provided us with a spectacular day of attacking racing, crowned by Stephane Rossetto’s daring long-range win. Let’s hope for more of the same in 2019. The stage will start in the beautiful Piece Hall in Halifax, used for last year’s stage start and pictured in the featured image for this article. The race heads into the Yorkshire Dales National Park and takes in five categorised climbs, before heading into Leeds for the finish.
Featured photo: SW Pix / Tour de Yorkshire