Tour de Yorkshire




IMQ46826_322Last Day Harder Than The First
Dateline: 7-May-2015
The final stage showed just how hard the Yorkshire roads can be when the biggest bunch finished some 17 minutes down on the stage winner, Ben Hermans of BMC. In the final there were only around 20 riders in contention for the stage and many fewer for the overall. In fact it was the five from Stage 1 that topped the final GC - all able to stick in the front group despite the constant climbs, twists and descents.

So Lars Petter Nordhaug became the first ever winner of the Tour de Yorkshire - ahead of Sanchez and Voeckler. It was a similar story at the opposite end of the GC as Graham Briggs held on to last place, by just 3 seconds, from Andrew Hawdon. The points jersey also went to Nordhaug and Nicolas Edet of Cofidis took the climbers jersey through his final stage efforts.

But despite the shortage of British successes the race was a big hit with the crowds and the rumors of a 10 year contract indicate that the pro peloton will be seeing more of Yorkshire’s hills for some time to come ...

No Easy Roads On Day 1
Dateline: 1-May-2015
Despite being shorter - and some would say easier - than the 1965 route from Bridlington to Scarborough the day proved plenty tough enough for many of the field.

And by the time the leading, successful break reached to top of the climb from Robin Hoods Bay (below) the riders were spread out in small groups. Groups that came by for over 12 minutes - with race radio announcing that both Kittel and Swift had already retired. At the finish it was victory for Norwegian Lars Petter Nordhaug of Team Sky (here in second position behind Sanchez) in a time of 4:22:38. The race being decided in a sprint involving Voeckler (Europcar), Rossetto (Cofidis), Sanchez (BMC Racing) and Deignan (Team Sky). Sir Brad finished the day almost 15 minutes behind - but there were 37 riders that followed him in with Graham Briggs (JLT Condor) being credited with the red light at 16:43 in arrears.

So the 2015 stage had a similar outcome to the one from 50 years before - with a five man break sprinting out the finish. In 1965 the stage average was 37.8 k/h but this time Nordhaug averaged 39.3 k/h - which equates to 11 minutes faster over the 172 kms. But today was stage one of three and back then the amateur riders had already completed ten hard stages before the stage start.

At least today’s riders can look forward to something flatter tomorrow ... unlike 1965 when stage 12 went from Scarborough to Newcastle over more tough climbs.Sanchez leads Nordhaug

Ready To Go
Dateline: 30-Apr-2015
With the rider presentation in progress tonight in the centre of York everything is in place for the first ever stage tomorrow. But a tour stage running between Bridlington and Scarborough is nothing new. So to set the scene here is a report of the 1965 Milk Race stage between the two coastal towns. Then the route was 22 km longer than tomorrow will be but it is still interesting to see that this year’s stage is expected to take around 4hr15 compared to a time of 5hr11 in 1965.

Milk Race Stage 11: Bridlington-Scarborough, 122m (196km)
Dateline: CYCLING, 19 June 1965
After their sensational leap upwards on the stage to Bridlington, the PoIes were again in the news on the next day's big loop to Scarborough - just 18 miles by direct route but 122 miles as the riders went.

With first and third placing, the day would appear to have belonged to Poland, but it was third placed Les West who really benefited from the winning break for the two Poles, Wladyslaw Kotlowski and Antoni Palka, were both relatively lowly placed on general classification. ‘Our men were wrong to work in the break while race leader Janiak was behind in the chasing group’ said the angry Polish manager. It was a strange reversal of the previous day's racing when West was imprisoned in the bunch while two of his team-mates helped the Pole to capture the yellow jersey.

It was Kotlowski who got the verdict at the line. Derek Hepple, Great Britain, protested vociferously that the Pole had switched him across the road
The protest was over-ruled and the North Easterner was a disgrutled second.

The break had developed early when John Bettinson, Great Britain, and Palka went away after 20 miles. By 40 miles the leading group had grown to seven riders and through only Palka and Hepple were to stay there to the finish, everything revolved around this group for, as one man dropped back, another moved up to replace him in a constantly changing pattern. right up until the final five established themselves just before the final prime.

But a lot had happened before then. Up the breath-taking ramp of Sutton Bank, top climber Jose Gomez, Spain, jumped clear of the others to take the prime, cheered on by a large crowd of enthusiasts, basking in the hot sun. The break straggled out on the climb, but the bunch came up in a compact mass, led by Arthur Metcalfe, with one or two running the last few yards just to relax their shattered limbs for a few moments.

Over the top, a strong cross-wind wrought havoc. The bunch were literally blown over onto the wrong side of the road and we had the amazing sight of cars passing the bunch on the inside with no trouble. Luckily the road soon swung the other way and the danger was over. Les West was moving up to the break by now and several small packets had also detached themselves.

Then suddenly, Kotlowski and Charlie Booth - the day’s revelation - were up to, and past, the break. Immeadiately, Derek Hepple, Les West and Antoni Palka reacted and went up to join them. This was it and, despite the fact that only the Poles seemed to be working hard - Hepple defending for his team and West waiting to see how it developed before he too began to flog at the front - they moved clear.

The bunch were now at three-and-a-quarter minutes and, in between, a chasing group was beginning to evolve. Janiak had now moved up into the picture as had previous leader Santamarina, but they were too late ...

1. Wladyslaw Kotlowski (P) 5-11-17
2. Derek Hepple (GB)
3. Antoni Palka (P)
4. Les West (Mid)
5. Charlie Booth (North)
6. L-P Santamarina (Sp) at 1-43

Preview of one of the TdY Climbs
Dateline: 23-Apr-2015
Dashcam video of the Stage 1 climb back to the moors after passing through Robin Hood’s Bay is on
YouTube here...

IMQ45600sTeam Rosters Published
Dateline: 20-Apr-2015
Today the race web site has been updated to show the
riders nominated by the 18 teams scheduled to ride in next week’s Tour de Yorkshire. The riders from Yorkshire are picked out and are expected to be - Russell Downing, Gabriel Cullaigh, Oliver Wood, Graham Briggs, Ed Clancy, Thomas Moses, Liam Holohan, Tom Stewart, Tom Barras and potential winner Ben Swift.

Apart from just local interest there are some well-known names from the classics and grand tours that are expected to start - Thomas Voeckler, Marcus Burghhardt, Samuel Sanchez and Greg Van Avermaet - being the most obvious. They will join the previously named Marcel Kittel and Bradley Wiggins - who are both expected to start despite Kittel’s early season illness.

So expect to see 144 riders - and dozens of team cars - at the start in Bridlington a week on Friday.

15 Days To Go
Dateline: 16-Apr-2015
Welcome to Yorkshire must, we hope, be trying hard to make their first attempt at running a regional cycle race a commercial success. But it looks increasingly likely that serious financial support has stayed away. The objective was to get a main sponsor and eight official partners. However today there are still only two, Yorkshire Bank and JCT600, listed on the
official web site - both as partners. So unless Welcome to Yorkshire are holding back on some major announcements there will be a big shortfall in the race’s commercial funding.

The sponsorship targets were to raise 600,000 from the main sponsor, 800,000 from eight official partners and 400,000 from eight official suppliers. If the present position is the final outcome then there will only be 200,000 coming in - against a 1,800,000 target. Not the result that Welcome to Yorkshire, or French organisers ASO, would have wanted. And not one that is sustainable in the future. In the short term the race will be funded by the tax payer but there will need to be a lot of promises of jam tomorrow to keep the local authorities on side for future years.

Update: P&O Ferries have now come on board as official partners.

Team Update
Dateline: 1-Apr-2015
The official team list for the inaugural TdY is
online here but it will be awhile before the actual start list is confirmed - even though Sir Bradley is set to lead his own Team Wiggins development squad while Marcel Kittel is set to return to Yorkshire nearly a year after wearing the first yellow jersey in Harrogate in the Tour de France 2014.


Update 9-Apr-2015: Since the above graphic was published two more teams have been added - JLT Condor and Raleigh - making 18 in total. The declared target was 20 teams. No details of the team rosters are expected until the week before the race start.

Placement in the Calendar
Dateline: 1-Apr-2015
Finding a good spot for a new race in the busy in the international road calendar is next to impossible. And the Tour de Yorkshire will have to make the best of its assigned dates. The other UCI road calendar events with overlapping dates and a higher ranking are the Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey, Tour de Romandie and Rund um den Finanzplatz Eschborn-Frankfurt so it seems unlikely that many Tour de France stars (apart from Kittel and Wiggins) will return to Yorkshire this year following up last year’s Grand Depart. But its good news that this year the Giro d’Italia does not start until 9th May.

This lack of big names will reduce international media coverage but not so much at local level where GB riders will get more attention than they do in other British events. In the local calendar the absence (for 2015 only) of the Lincoln GP from its early May spot will avoid any clash, at least in the short term.

The only unexpected element was having the three day race run out of sync with the national long weekend - starting on a Friday which is not a public holiday ...

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