Tour de Yorkshire 2018: Mark Cavendish wants to compete in four-day race


Mark Cavendish won Olympic silver on the track in Rio last year

Mark Cavendish says he “definitely” wants to race in next year’s four-day Tour de Yorkshire.

The 2018 race, a legacy of the Tour de France Grand Depart Yorkshire hosted in 2014, will take place from 3-6 May and also feature a two-day women’s race.

Cavendish, 32, who has won 30 stages of the Tour de France, said he cannot yet confirm his place in the race, which will finish in Leeds.

But he admitted his mother’s home county is a “special place to ride”.

The competition includes routes from Beverley to Doncaster, Barnsley to Ilkley and Richmond to Scarborough.

The final stage will start in Halifax and finish in the centre of Leeds.

It will be the first time the city’s centre has been closed off for an international race since the 2014 Tour de France.

“The people in Yorkshire are the friendliest people you’ll meet,” Cavendish said. “When you see the amount of people who line the road, it really does help us. It’s really nice to see that much support for cycling and for the British athletes. It’s something that you do remember and it gives you goosebumps.”

Cavendish, a sprint specialist who won the world road title in 2011, is very familiar with the route, as his mother is from Harrogate.

The Manxman was favourite to win the first stage of the 2014 Tour de France, which finished in Harrogate, but dislocated his shoulder when he crashed during the sprint finish.

He managed to eventually cross the finish line, but was unable to take part in the rest of the Tour.

“Getting the fourth day is a major thing for us,” said Sir Gary Verity, chief executive of race organisers Welcome to Yorkshire.

“It gives it a balance for the men’s race with two flat stages and two stages for attackers, allowing us to attract different riders.”

The women’s race doubles in length from one to two days for the 2018 edition and will take place on 3-4 May, over a similar route as the men but racing in the morning.

Yorkshire rider Lizzie Deignan, who won the road world title in 2015, won last year’s race by 55 seconds.

Yorkshire will also host the 2019 World Road Championships and Verity has said that every Tour de Yorkshire leading up to then is a “dress rehearsal”.

The route

Stage one is a 180km race from Beverley to Doncaster for the men, shorter for the women, and with only 660m of climbing, is expected to favour the sprinters.

The second stage ends with a summit finish at the famous Cow and Calf Rocks on Ilkley Moor after a 148km race from Barnsley – again the women’s race will be shorter.

Stage three will be a familiar finish on Scarborough’s North Shore after starting in Richmond and taking in the North Yorkshire Moors.

And the finale promises to be an intriguing stage, with 3,400m of climbing before finishing on the Headrow outside the Town Hall, where the 2014 Tour de France began.

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