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2019 Tour de Yorkshire: domestic team guide

A guide to the domestic teams at the men's 2019 Tour de Yorkshire

The 2019 Tour de Yorkshire begins on Thursday 2 May, offering one of the few opportunities on the UK racing calendar for domestic-based teams to pit their wits – and legs – against World Tour opposition.

This season all 6 British UCI Continental teams – as well as a Great Britain national team – have been granted selection for the race. With the rebranded Team Ineos also lining up once again, as well as other British riders featuring in some of the foreign-based teams (Tanfield, Cavendish, Cummings), the race will include a strong line-up of home talent.

Recent editions of the race have shown that the domestic teams are much more than just breakaway fodder these days. Harry Tanfield’s dramatic win on stage 1 was the most high profile example of this in 2018. On GC, domestic riders have also shone. Ian Bibby (riding for JLT Condor) finished 6th last season, for example, and Matt Holmes (Madison Genesis was 5th overall in 2017.

In this preview, we highlight which domestic-based riders might shine in Yokrshire this year.

For details of the route, click here.

05/05/2018 – Cycling – 2018 Tour de Yorkshire – Stage 4: Halifax to Leeds – Jai Hindley, Tom Pidcock and Connor Swift. Photo: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com –

Canyon dhb p/b Bloor Homes

Line-up: Jacob Hennessy, Robert Jon McCarthy, Dan Pearson, Max Stedman, Tom Stewart, Andrew Tennant, Rory Townsend

This is a well-rounded team that should be in the mix on every stage of the race. They have plenty of options on the first two, flatter stages. Robert Jon McCarthy and Jacob Hennessy are both talented sprinters in their own right and could easily be in the top ten (or higher) in a bunch finish. And Rory Townsend is no slouch in a sprint either and is clearly a man of form; he finished 3rd in the reduced bunch sprint at the CiCLE Classic on Sunday, won the East Cleveland Klondike Grand Prix, and was 3rd at the Classic Loire Atlantique (UCI 1.1) at the end of April. If he gets into a break, the bunch may not see him again.

On the hillier stages, the team also has options. Dan Pearson and Max Stedman are both accomplished climbers who have both finished just outside the top 20 in this race in the past. It is Yorkshireman Tom Stewart though who we think could shine in particular. Last year’s Tour de Normandie winner finished 11th in the Tour de Yorkshire in 2016 and is well suited to the type of aggressive, grippy racing that the race is famous for. He tells us he’s in good shape and thinks a top 10 is achievable if things go his way.

It’s a big race, there’s some big riders there, and you have to have (a) really good form, (b) a tactically fantastic race and (c) a bit of good luck on your side. So we’ll see. 

Tom Stewart

Great Britain

Line-up: Charley Calvert, Sean Flynn, Ethan Hayter, Dan McLay, Joe Nally, William Tidball, Ben Turner

Two names jump out when looking at the Great Britain team: DanMcLay and Ethan Hayter. McLay, who rides for EF Education First, will parachute into the race from the Eschborn-Frankfurt World Tour race which takes place the day before stage 1. If this doesn’t affect his form and freshness unduly, McLay is more than capable of taking a bunch sprint win on one of the flatter days.

28/09/2018 – Cycling – UCI 2018 Road World Championships – Innsbruck-Tirol, Austria – U23 Men’s Road Race – Ethan Hayter of Great Britain. Photo: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com

20-year-old Hayter, meanwhile, is one brightest young talents in the sport. He has just returned to the road having taken a break after the track world championships earlier this year. He’s also recovering from a cold as he begins the Tour de Yorkshire, and told us yesterday that he’s not quite sure where his form is.

I think I’m going to need to find how I’m going

Ethan Hayter

But, he’s looked sharp in his first two road races this season. And he demonstrated at the Tour of Britain last season – where he took multiple stage top 10s and finished 16th overall – that he can mix it with the best in both sprint finishes and hillier terrain. So if he finds his feet quickly he could well be a name we see at the top of the results sheet. The rest of squad is a very young one, and the race will no doubt be an important milestone in their development.

Madison Genesis

Line-up: Ian Bibby, Mike Cuming, Richard Handley, Matt Holmes, Johnny McEvoy, Connor Swift, Joey Walker

Madison Genesis bring one of the strongest domestic squads and is packed with riders who are capable of getting strong GC results. Ian Bibby is one such rider. The former JLT Condor rider finished 6th overall in the race last season and has proven time and again he can match some of the world’s best on his day. Matt Holmes is another rider with history in the race. He finished 5th in 2017 at the age of 23, but was then beset by injury troubles last year. He’ll be hoping he’s now back to the 2017 version of himself.

Yorkshireman Connor Swift, the national road race champion, is another rider to look out for. He’s demonstrated some very strong form of late, with an attacking display at Tro-Bro Léon, 3rd at the East Cleveland Klondike Grand Prix and 9th at the Tour de Normandie. Having narrowly missed out on a World Tour contract at the end of last season, he’ll no doubt be hoping for the opportunity to showcase his talent on home soil.

Ribble Pro Cycling

Line-up: John Archibald, Scott Auld, Dan Bigham, Gruff Lewis, Alex Luhrs, Zeb Kyffin, Jacob Tipper

Ribble Pro Cycling is one of two new British UCI Continental teams this season. Followers of track cycling will recognise names like John Archibald, Dan Bigham and Jacob Tipper from the Huub-Wattbike team. The team has had relatively little high-quality racing under its belt this season so far (the CiCLE Classic on Sunday was its first UCI race of the year), so it’s difficult to gauge the form of the riders. But they shouldn’t be dismissed as inexperienced minnows.

14/04/2019 – British Cycling – HSBC UK Men’s National Road Series – East Cleveland Klondike GP – Dan Bigham of Ribble. Photo: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com

Alex Luhrs is a rider in form at the moment. He’s had several successes in National B races so far, and then showed in both the East Cleveland Klondike Grand Prix and the CiCLE Classic that he’s up there with the best in the UK at the moment, finishing 6th in both races. In Jacob Tipper and Gruff Lewis, the team also have riders who won UCI races last year. Tipper’s sprint win in the Tour of Qinghai Lake (2.HC), in particular, shows the team have a rider with the potential to get a big win in a fast finish.

SwiftCarbon Pro Cycling

Line-up: Stephen Bradbury, Isaac Mundy, Jacob Scott, Tristan Robbins, James Shaw, Pete Williams, George Wood

The other new British UCI Continental team this season is SwiftCarbon Pro Cycling. The standout name in their line-up is former World Tour rider James Shaw. Shaw is well-suited to Yorkshire’s terrain, demonstrated by his 14th overall last season whilst riding for the Great Britain team. He’s clearly in good shape too; he came 4th in the recent Tour de Loir et Cher (UCI 2.2) race with some enjoyably aggressive racing.

28/04/2019 – Road Cycling – Rutland – Melton International CiCLE Classic, Leicestershire, England – James Shaw of Swift Carbon. Photo: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com

In fact, the whole team rode impressively at Loir et Cher, arguably outperforming the other two British teams there (Madison Genesis and Vitus Pro Cycling p/b Brother UK), with former Madison Genesis rider Isaac Mundy winning the mountains competition. Former One Pro Cycling riders Jacob Scott and Pete Williams are two other riders to watch. Scott was 4th in Sunday’s CiCLE Classic. And Williams has shown himself to be adept at getting into the breaks and picking up jerseys in races past.

Team Wiggins Le Col

Line-up: Mark Christian, Gabriel Cullaigh, James Fouché, Samuel Jenner, Corentin Navarro, Tom Pidcock, Rob Scott

The team returns to the Tour de Yorkshire after missing out on selection in 2017 and 2018. And what a mighty fine team they have. Like Connor Swift, Gabriel Cullaigh is another man unlucky to have missed out on a World Tour contract last season. The fast man is clearly in fine shape at the moment, so should be one to watch in the sprints. He won a stage of the Volta ao Alentejo in March, and really should have won the CiCLE Classic on Sunday, only to lose out after beginning his celebrations too early. He’ll be hoping to make amends this weekend.

Rory Townsend (left) and Gabz Cullaigh (right) are pipped to the line by Colin Joyce (Rally-UHC) at the Rutland-Melton CiCLE Classic 2019. Photo: Alex Reed

Tom Pidcock needs little introduction. The cyclocross star has looked impressive already on the road this season. He picked up a stage and finished 3rd overall at the Le Triptyque des Monts et Châteaux (UCI 2.2U) and was 5th at the CiCLE Classic after leading out Cullaigh. Like Hayter, he’s a rider that could easily pick up results on all types of terrain. U23 national road race champion Rob Scott is another form rider that would be a dangerman in any breakaway. Speaking of breakaways, the New Zealand road race champion James Fouché is another rider to look out for. He’s becoming a breakaway specialist and has bagged the mountains jersey in every stage race he’s ridden so far this season. We wouldn’t put it past him to do the same again in Yorkshire. And let’s not forget Mark Christian, who is no stranger to GC success in Yorkshire; he finished 7th overall in 2017.

Vitus Pro Cycling p/b Brother UK

Line-up: Graham Briggs, Adam Kenway, Chris Latham, Chris McGinchley, Mikey Mottram, Ali Slater, Scott Thwaites

Last, but not least, a rejuvenated Vitus Pro Cycling p/b Brother UK return to the Tour de Yorkshire with a much-strengthened team. Former World Tour rider Scott Thwaites is a man with a hunger to use this season to earn another World Tour contract, and has shown he is on form in recent weeks (2nd at the East Cleveland Klondike Grand Prix and sprinting to 10th in the CiCLE Classic despite having a puncture).

28/04/2019 – Road Cycling – Rutland – Melton International CiCLE Classic, Leicestershire, England – Scott Thwaites of Vitus. Photo: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com

Chris Latham is one of the fastest finishers in the domestic peloton on his day and could well feature in sprint finishes if he can rediscover his form. Ali Slater and Graham Briggs are also worth highlighting. Both moved to the team this year from the now-defunct JLT Condor team and are both very capable of strong performances. Slater often played team role at JLT but is more than capable of a strong GC showing if given the chance. And Briggs is the kind of rider you wouldn’t bet against if he found himself in a strong breakaway.

Featured photo: SWpix.com – 03/05/2018 – Cycling – 2018 Tour de Yorkshire – Stage 1: Beverley to Doncaster – Harry Tanfield of Canyon Eisberg celebrates winning the stage

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