Organisers of the Tour de France’s two opening stages in Yorkshire on July 5 and 6 have announced the full timings of the two days of racing so fans can plan their vantage points.
Stage One will start from Leeds at 11:10 on the morning of Saturday July 5, but will pass through a fairly long neutral section until racing gets underway when the race turns off the A61 on to the A659 some 9 miles out of the city.
Depending on the race speed, riders are expected to arrive at the finish line in Harrogate between 16:20 and 16:46. Harrogate is the home town of sprint star Mark Cavendish’s mum, and Cav has already expressed his determination to take the race’s first yellow jersey there.
Talking to Italian sports daily La Gazzetta dello Sport last year, Cavendish said: “I haven’t yet worn the yellow jersey in the Tour de France. I had the opportunity this year but a crash stopped that, so to be able to that in my mum’s home town, it’s sweet, it will be a big goal, probably the single most important day of the year.”
On the way to Harrogate, the race will pass over the Cat 3 Buttertubs Pass between 14:22pm and 14:36 and tackle the climb of Grinton Moor at 14:57-15:15.
For those looking for a handful of daft promotional tat thrown out by people attached to strangely decorated vehicles, the publicity caravan will precede the race by two hours.
Stage Two will leave York at 11:00 on the morning of Sunday July 6. There’s a shorter neutralised section this time before racing gets started properly on the A59 at 11:20.
The hilliest of the three British stages has a total of eight categorised climbs, the biggest of which is Holme Moss in the Pennines, rated Cat 2. The race tackles the northern ascent of Holme Moss, considered one of the country’s hardest climbs and is due to reach the summit between 14:49 and 15:12. Riders will still have four more hills to tackle before arriving in the centre of Sheffield between 16:14 and 16:46.
Full details of the route of Stage Three, from Cambridge to London, are yet to be announced.
Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.
Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.
Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.
The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.