Lizzie Armitstead, Paris-Roubaix winner Matthew Hayman and Bradley Wiggins will headline a strong line-up at the second edition of the Tour de Yorkshire, which will be held between April 29 and May 1.
The first Tour de Yorkshire was held last year, off the back of successfully hosting the 2014 Tour de France Grand Depart. Lars Petter Nordhaug (Team Sky) came out victorious overall after winning the opening stage to Scarborough, while Louise Mahé won the one-day women’s event.
Nordhaug is back this year and will be joined his Team Sky teammates Peter Kennaugh and Luke Rowe. Other stand out names on the official entry list include Rohan Dennis (BMC), Stephen Cummings (Dimension Data) and Paris-Roubaix winner Matt Hayman, who will be joined in the Orica-GreenEdge team by talented young sprinter Caleb Ewan and Britain's Adam Yates.
The men’s race will again take place over three days after organisers failed to convince British Cycling to allow them to extend it to four days. Beginning on April 29 in Beverley, the race will end in Scarborough on May 1.
While Bradley Wiggins is the headline name at the Tour de Yorkshire, he is likely to be riding for someone else as he begins his build-up for the team pursuit at the Rio Olympics. Up and coming talent Owain Doull is also expected to ride and could be the team’s best hope at success. Wiggins will probably play a support role for the young Welshman.
While there are no Yorkshire riders among confirmed the WorldTour line-ups, there are some from nearby such as Lancashire-born Adam Yates and Merseysider Cummings. In addition to the slightly French race name, there will be a few French riders to boot thanks to the work of race organiser ASO. Thomas Voeckler finished second to Nordhaug in the opening stage last year and he will be back with his Direct Energie team. Last year’s king of the mountains winner Nicolas Edet (Cofidis) will return while Giant-Alpecin’s Warren Barguil will make his debut in the British race.
In the women's race, sprinters Kirsten Wild (Hitch Products) and Jolien D’hoore (Wiggle-High5) will be looking to end Boels Dolmans’ run of success so far this season and beat Lizzie Armitstead on her home ground. Defending champion Mahé will be back with her Les Filles Racing Team.
This year, the women’s event will take place over the same course as stage 2 of the men’s race and will receive full TV coverage thanks to securing sponsorship from the supermarket chain Asda they have also put on offer €20,000 euros for the winner.
Armitstead missed last year’s race, criticising it for being an afterthought for the organisers. Her opinion has changed with a much tougher parcours planned and has, this time, praised the organisers for putting on a ‘proper race’.
The 135.5km women’s race will start in Armitstead’s hometown of Otley and finish in Doncaster. As was as Armitstead, there will be home interest in Dani King (Wiggle-High5) and Sarah Storey (Podium Ambition). Shelley Olds (Ale Cipollini) and Leah Kirchmann (Liv Plantur) are also expected to ride.