FROM AN industrial city to a coastal resort and picturesque market towns, next year’s Tour de Yorkshire is set to take in all four corners of the region.
The annual cycle race will reach further across the country, with its second outing stretching down to Doncaster in South Yorkshire and Middlesbrough in the old North Riding.
It will take in both sides of North Yorkshire, with Settle and Scarborough selected to play host to either a stage start or finish.
Elite cyclists are set to wind through Beverley’s medieval streets, and world champion Lizzie Armitstead’s home town Otley will play a major part in the race.
“From the first moments of the inaugural Tour de Yorkshire, everyone who was there knew it was something special,” said Sir Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire.
“I’m delighted that we are able to bring the 2016 race to all four corners of Yorkshire. It is testament to how much the county has taken the race to its heart that we have been oversubscribed for next year’s starts and finishes.
“The Tour de Yorkshire is an event in the cycling calendar that riders want to race in and we look forward to welcoming some of the world’s best riders back to Yorkshire next year.”
Otley’s MP, Greg Mulholland said he was “absolutely delighted” that the town’s passion for cycling was being recognised.
He said: “It would be amazing if we could see Lizzie racing in Otley. The people of the town are just so proud of her success and want to enjoy her achievements as much as possible.”
The women’s race is set to take place on Saturday April 30.
South Yorkshire will play host for the first time at some point over the weekend of April 29, 30 and May 1 2016. Mayor of Doncaster, Ros Jones said: “It’s now our time to grab a piece of the action. This will raise the profile of Doncaster, our history and local towns and villages.”
Neil Firth, head of service for major projects and investment at Doncaster council said the legacy of the Tour de Yorkshire is ‘unquantifiable’.
He added: “Yorkshire is now an international brand and we want to shout about Doncaster and be a bigger part of that.”
Welcome to Yorkshire received 14 expressions of interest to host a Tour de Yorkshire start or finish in 2016 and four locations which missed out, Fox Valley (Sheffield), Halifax, Harrogate and Selby have been announced as 2017 hosts.
Despite recent revelations that the Tour de France Grand Depart left Welcome to Yorkshire with £1m losses, Sir Gary emphasised the positive legacy of the Tour in Yorkshire.
He said: “The Tour de Yorkshire is the second biggest cycling event in the world, it attracted one and a half million spectators and over six million global television viewers. The organisers have never seen anything like Yorkshire.
“We need to build on this and make sure that Yorkshire is the first place in the world where every child has access to a bike.”
Welcome to Yorkshire’s decision to include Middlesbrough as a host has reignited the age-old debate about Teeside’s position in Yorkshire.
Sir Gary said: “Many people say it is still Yorkshire, many others say it is not but it is part of the ceremonial Yorkshire and it has the passion for cycling that we want and will get people behind the event.”
The town opened a £1.6m velodrome last month. Cllr Lewis Young from Middlesbrough Council said: “We are not seeing this as being part of Yorkshire, this is us working closely with our neighbours.”
The full 2016 race route will be announced in December, and Sir Gary he would not give up attempts to extend the event to four days in the future - despite British Cycling rejecting the request earlier this year.
He added: “We want the race to be a four-day race from a sporting point of view - it gives us a balanced race, with potentially two flat stages and two hilly stages, so it is appeals to a broad spectrum of riders.
“We’ve no desire to go beyond four days - it is the right duration for this kind of race. Everybody is in favour of it - Mark Cavendish, Chris Froome, the broadcasters, the sponsors and the public. It is up to us to convince the board of British Cycling that there is a huge demand for this.”