Sir Gary Verity out to cement reputation of Tour de Yorkshire's grand finale
Sir Gary Verity wants the last stage of the Tour de Yorkshire to establish itself as one of the 'monuments of cycling' after announcing plans to return to the same route used in last year's memorable finale.
At yesterday’s route announcement in Leeds, Verity revealed that the 2019 edition of the race would again conclude with a stage from Halifax to Leeds via the imposing climbs of Park Rash, Greenhow Hill and Otley Chevin on Sunday, May 5.
Organisers now plan to include the stage – with the occasional tweak – in all future editions of the race to help build its reputation.
It was on these roads that Cofidis rider Stephane Rossetto soloed to a superb stage win in May in arguably the best day’s racing the Tour de Yorkshire has yet seen in its four-year history.
Greg Van Avermaet came home in second place to seal overall victory, and Verity – the chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire – revealed the Olympic champion helped persuade him to make it a regular feature.
“I spoke to the riders at the end of the stage in Leeds and some on the Monday after and said, ‘Look, how about it if we run that every year and have a Yorkshire Classic’?” Verity said.
“And it was Greg Van Avermaet – who has just announced he is going to come back and defend his title – who said, ‘I think it’s an obvious thing to do, I don’t know why you don’t do it already’.
“It’s going to be a lumpy but fast finish coming into Leeds, and if we can do that every year as a Yorkshire Classic it will become one of the monuments of cycling.”
The stage will cap a four-day race which begins with a 178.5km stage from Doncaster to Selby via the Yorkshire Wolds.
The next two days will see the men and women’s pelotons contest identical routes, 132km from Barnsley to Bedale on the Friday and 132km from Bridlington to Scarborough via on the Saturday.
“Getting the weekend, especially for TV coverage, is huge because there are obviously more viewers,” said Bingley rider Annie Simpson. “That’s what we need.”
Friday’s stage will include the circuit in Harrogate which will provide the finale for September’s UCI Road World Championships.