British cycling stardust is set to add some sparkle to the inaugural Tour de Yorkshire.
Tykes the nation over will be rubbing their hands at the prospect of seeing their local heroes test themselves against the cycling behemoths of Sir Bradley Wiggins, Spain’s 2008 gold medalist Samuel Sanchez and Germany’s Marcel Kittel in the first ever Tour de Yorkshire this year.
The women's event will be boosted by the presence of Paralympic champion Dame Sarah Storey who is also preparing for the competition.
Wiggins, winner of the 2012 Tour de France, is to lead the Team Wiggins developmental squad in the men’s event, following his recent departure from Team Sky.
Hailing from Rotherham and Barnsley respectively, road race star Ben Swift and double Olympic gold medalist Ed Clancy will provide an international voice to a Yorkshire-born presence which officials have been keen to foster.
Welcome to Yorkshire chief executive, Gary Verity, said: “Some of the Yorkshire riders will already be known to many people while there are others that they may not know but very soon will do.”
Among the riders flying the flag for Yorkshire are Rotherham’s Russ Downing, Doncaster’s Tom Stewart, and Liam Holohan from Leeds.
Mr Verity highlighted how the gradual build up throughout the communities involved is now blossoming, with bunting appearing on many of the region's houses and business fronts. “The county is planning where it is going to watch the Tour de Yorkshire and that’s great to know,” he told The Yorkshire Post.
This, the inaugural Tour de Yorkshire comes after the English county accommodated the opening two stages of the Tour de France last year. Understandably the buzz of anticipation is at fever pitch for this year’s event whose spectator numbers are expected to exceed 1 million. In an already crowded cycling calendar, such high levels of attention will be necessary to ensure the longevity of this new spectacle.
The race will begin on Friday 1st May, taking riders from Bridlington to Scarborough on the first day, then from Selby to York on day two. May 3rd’s final day will go from Wakefield to Roundhay Park in Leeds via Ripponden, Hebden Bridge, Haworth and Otley.
The event could benefit the Yorkshire economy to the tune of £40m according to estimates from Welcome To Yorkshire. Attention will be truly global with more than 100 countries set to watch coverage of the landmark event on television.