Serge Pauwels to return to defend his title
Not one but two former Tour de Yorkshire winners have announced they will be jetting in for the fourth edition which runs between 3-6 May.
Reigning champion Serge Pauwels has confirmed he will be back to defend his title, while retired 2016 victor Thomas Voeckler will also be present in an ambassadorial role.
Pauwels wowed the crowd in 2017 with a successful attack on the concluding loop into Fox Valley and took the victory by a six-second advantage over his Team Dimension Data team-mate Omar Fraile.
The 34-year-old is the latest star cyclist to announce his intention to ride. Pauwels has just completed the Tour of the Basque Country and will hope to have a strong Ardennes Classics campaign in Belgium and Holland before arriving in Yorkshire for the fourth edition which runs from 3-6 May.
The Belgian said: "I’m really looking forward to it. I’ve ridden the race twice before and the atmosphere and size of the crowds are always unbelievable. Winning the race last year was one of the highlights of my career and I’ll certainly be hoping to do it again.
"The Tour de Yorkshire is my first major goal of the season and the route looks like it could suit me. That summit finish on the Cow and Calf [on stage two] is sure to be selective and the final stage into Leeds will be a really tough one."
Voeckler - who triumphed in Scarborough two years ago – is also visiting Yorkshire in the run up to the race and will be on hand to see the peloton roll out of Beverley on the opening stage.
Welcome to Yorkshire Chief Executive Sir Gary Verity said: “We’re delighted that both Serge and Thomas will be back in Yorkshire for the 2018 edition.
"I'm really looking forward to seeing Serge in action out there on the road. Last year he proved a more-than worthy winner and I have no doubt he will animate the racing once again.
"As for Thomas, he is true cycling hero and his Tour de Yorkshire triumph sits among glittering palmarès featuring no-less than four Tour de France stage wins.
"We'll look to announce more high-profile names in the weeks to come and are working hard to ensure the 2018 race is the biggest and best one yet."