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by Shane Stokes
March 18, 2015
The legacy event created after the Tour de France began in Yorkshire last July looks set to have a strong field, with 2012 Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins and multiple Tour stage winner Marcel Kittel both confirmed as taking part.
Also on board are five WorldTour teams plus six Pro Continental teams, as well as the new Team Wiggins Continental squad.
Wiggins will be at the helm of the latter, being set to leave Team Sky after his bid to win Paris-Roubaix in April.
Kittel is returning to Yorkshire after winning the opening stage of last year’s Tour and wearing the yellow jersey.
He is regarded as the sport’s top sprinter, although British rider Mark Cavendish appears to be back to form this year and is hoping to depose Kittel of that title.
The new race will be held from May 1 to 3, is ranked 2.1 on the UCI’s international calendar and is jointly organised by Tour organisers ASO and Welcome to Yorkshire.
The WorldTour teams taking part are Kittel’s Giant-Alpecin squad, as well as Sky, BMC Racing Team, Team Lotto NL-Jumbo and IAM Cycling.
The Pro Continental teams are Cofidis Solutions Credits, Team Europcar, MTN-Qhubeka, Cult Energy Pro Cycling, Roompot Oranje Peloton and Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise.
The lineup is completed by the Continental squads Team Wiggins, NFTO, ONE Pro Cycling plus Madison Genesis, as well as the Great Britain national team.
“We will be glad to return to Yorkshire after the huge success of the Tour de France 2014 Grand Départ, the grandest ever,” said Tour de France race director Christian Prudhomme. “The first ever Tour de Yorkshire will be another occasion to showcase the outstanding landscapes of the county, especially of the coast which we didn’t visit last year with Le Tour.
“Tour de Yorkshire will be a great opportunity to review young talents among British riders and enable them to ride with top Tour de France professional teams and cycling stars like Sir Bradley Wiggins and Marcel Kittel.”
Each team will field eight riders and these will be selected with the varied parcours in mind.
Day one runs 174km from Bridlington to Scarborough and is regarded as a punchy route, while the following day’s stage from Selby to York covers exactly the same distance but is regarded as a sprinter stage.
Day three revisits some of the climbs of last July’s Grand Départ during the 167 kilometres from Wakefield to Leeds.
According to Welcome to Yorkshire CEO Gary Verity, the solid lineup is due in part to the success of the Tour start in the areal last year.
The riders for each team will be confirmed next month.
Meanwhile a women’s race will be run the same day as the men’s second stage. It will be held in York and will comprise four laps of a twenty kilometre circuit. Recent hour record attacker Sarah Storey has been confirmed amongst the lineup, and will lead her Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International team in the event.
The Tour de Yorkshire will be screened in 70 countries around the world.