Tour de Yorkshire Stage Three Preview
The third day of the 2019 Tour de Yorkshire sees a return to the coast and with it, the climbing. If the first two days can be classed as stages for the sprinters, then this day certainly brings something more for the punch riders as 5 categorised climbs are squeezed into a relatively short 132km of racing.
It begins in Bridlington, the same location as where the very first edition of the Tour de Yorkshire kicked off from in 2015 and also where the 2017 race began too. The start is relatively uncomplicated as the route meanders north through villages such as Hunmanby, Cayton and East Ayton before entering the North York Moors National Park for the first time in 2019.
The day’s first climb comes just after Hackness with the Côte de Silpho. This climb will be of no surprise to seasoned TDY riders, as it featured in the 2018 edition of the race, but for the uninitiated there’s potential that this 1.5km climb, averaging 8.2%, might catch a few out as it’s got one or two particularly sharp bends early on.
Shortly after this climb comes the first intermediate sprint of the day at Harwood Dale, before the course diverts more closely to the sea and the riders go through one of Yorkshire’s most picturesque seaside villages – Robin Hood's Bay. Once through here, the riders will take on the second categorised climb, the Côte de Hooks House Farm – with an average gradient of only 6.4% over 1.8km, this shouldn’t be too much of an issue for the peloton. From here, the second intermediate sprint takes place right in front of the world-famous Whitby Abbey – the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula – before dropping into this famous seaside town and then onto Sandsend, our first visit to this town.
It is just after here that we reach the third climb of the day, the Côte de Lythe Bank – a typical Yorkshire climb – short yet steep, as this 1.2km has a double digit average gradient and is bound to test a few weary legs. From here there’s nearly 20km of relatively flat road for riders to recover, but they will need to keep their wits about them as this stretch is quite exposed and could prove difficult if the weather is unfavourable on the day.
The penultimate climb comes with the Côte de Grosmont, another short brute of a climb which, although only 0.5km long has a nasty average gradient of 15%, then 5km later comes the final - and arguably best named – climb, the Côte de Ugglebarnby – a 1.9km climb at 8.7%. From here, there’s roughly 30km of riding left to do before the route drops into Scarborough for a finish on the iconic Scarborough sea front. This finish has featured in all 4 editions so far and every time has provided two things: brilliant drama and huge crowds – we expect more of the same in 2019.
All in all, this stage is quite tricky to call. It looks tailormade for a baraudeur, a rider who specialises in breakaways, who can ride all day over a rolling parcours; similar to the herculean effort put in by Stephané Rossetto during Stage 4 of the Tour de Yorkshire last year. Yet at the same time, there is a chance that a sprinter with a bit of climbing ability could just about cling on through the 5 climbs and then use that final 30km to get back on before launching their final sprint on the Scarborough seafront – a long stretch of road suited for sprinters. As this is the final stage of the Asda Tour de Yorkshire Women's Race, it's likely that whoever crosses the line first will be crowned the overall champion, and with it one of the largest prize pots in women's cycling too - so that adds yet more intrigue to the day's action.
One thing to expect for sure though? Fireworks.