Tour de Yorkshire 2019 Stage One Preview
For the first time since the race’s inception, the Tour de Yorkshire will start outside of the East Riding with the “grand depart” of the 2019 edition beginning in Doncaster on 2nd May 2019.
It is somewhat of a role reversal for this large South Yorkshire town, as the two previous times Doncaster has been a host town for the race it has been as a finish location. First came our visit in 2016, when powerhouse sprinter Kirsten Wild won the Asda Tour de Yorkshire Women’s Race and Team Sky’s Danny van Poppel outgunned his Dutch comrade Dylan Groenewegen in one of the most closely fought sprint finishes in the race’s short history. Then came the 2018 edition when Wild repeated her galloping prowess to win in Doncaster again before God’s Own County native Harry Tanfield became Yorkshire’s first male stage winner later in the day. If our previous visits to Doncaster are anything to go by, there will be great crowds and we’re sure if Tanfield is selected for the Katusha line up he will receive a well-deserved hero’s welcome here.
The race heads north out of the town for a ceremonial start before the tempo will increase at Km0 just before it reaches Askern. As the peloton continue in a North-Eastern direction they will pass through Howden where the riders can be forgiven for slowing down for a short second to take in the breath-taking beauty of Howden Minster, one of the largest and most significant churches in the East Riding of Yorkshire. They won’t slow down for long though as precious seconds will be up for grabs at the first intermediate sprint of the day in Elloughton.
After this sprint, there’s plenty of beauty spots as pretty villages & sights like North Ferriby, Swanland, Skidby (and its majestic windmill) and Walkington are passed before the jewel in East Yorkshire’s crown, Beverley, is visited for the second year in a row. This quaint market town with its magnificent minster will, for sure, provide some iconic imagery on stage one.
The race then heads into the rolling countryside of the Yorkshire Wolds before the only King of the Mountains points for the day will be up for grabs on the Côte de Baggaby Hill. Whoever crests this first will be pulling on the LNER King of the Mountains jersey later that day so expect the pace to be rapid up this 1.9km climb. Almost immediately after this climb comes the second intermediate sprint at Pocklington before the race skirts round the outside of York before dropping into Selby for what looks like a sprint finish just outside Selby’s Abbey – what a way to celebrate 950 years since the abbey's inception. This will be the second time we’ve visited Selby, with the town having hosted a start to one of the stages of the race in our inaugural edition of 2015.
On the surface of it, this looks like a stage tailor-made for the sprinters. There’s only 815m of climbing through the 178.5km of the stage and the finish into Selby isn’t incredibly technical. The smart money would be on an aggressive start at km0 as teams jostle to get riders into the break, then once this break has formed the riders in it should sweep up all sprint/KOM points before the pack reels the break in near to the end before a mass bunch sprint sees the stand out fast-men make their early mark on the race. This is what *should* happen. However, if Stage One of the 2018 race is anything to go by, the peloton will need to be smart and not underestimate the power of the escapees, or else we could witness another miracle breakaway victory.
Stage One of the Tour de Yorkshire takes place on the 2nd May 2019. You can view the full map of this stage in detail here.