Six towns across Yorkshire will host a start or finish for the Tour de Yorkshire 2016, it has been revealed.
Organisers Welcome to Yorkshire and the ASO whittled down 14 expressions of interest to host a start or finish to the following six: Beverley, Doncaster, Middlesbrough, Otley (Leeds), Scarborough and Settle.
The three day men’s race will be held between Friday 29 April and Sunday 1 May. The women’s race will be held on Saturday 30 April.
Looking further ahead, some of the 2017 start and finish locations have also been confirmed, with Fox Valley (Sheffield), Halifax, Harrogate and Selby announced as hosts.
The inaugural Tour de Yorkshire was held in May this year and attracted one and a half million spectators and over six million global television viewers.
Sir Gary Verity, chief exec of Welcome to Yorkshire, said: “From the first moments of the inaugural Tour de Yorkshire, everyone who was there knew it was something special. I’m delighted that we are able to bring the 2016 race to all four corners of Yorkshire. It is testament to how much the county has taken the race to its heart that we have been oversubscribed for next year’s starts and finishes.
“The Tour de Yorkshire is an event in the cycling calendar that riders want to race in and we look forward to welcoming some of the world’s best riders back to Yorkshire next year.”
Christian Prudhomme, Director of the Tour de France at the ASO, said: “Yorkshire is so perfectly suited to international racing and the landscapes create wonderful chances for riders to shine. Many of the teams and riders said that the Tour de Yorkshire reminds them of the Tour de France’s Grand Départ, with the routes, crowds and atmosphere once again combining to create a very special race.”
Next year’s Tour will be also see a return of the Maserati Tour de Yorkshire Ride and a chance for Tour Makers to volunteer on the race route and help welcome spectators at the event.
Several of the host towns announced today are also home to Yorkshire Bank Bike Libraries, a direct legacy of the Tour de France and Tour de Yorkshire, which aim to offer every child in Yorkshire access to a bike. So far nearly one thousand children have borrowed a Bike Library bike, through school visits, led rides and community activity.
The full 2016 race route will be announced in December 2015 – this announcement will include exact start and finish locations and the distance and profile of the race.