馃嚞馃嚙 Tour de Yorkshire 2017 – Preview

Photograph by James Whitesmith

OVERVIEW

The third edition of the Tour de Yorkshire returns in 2017 with a mixture of World Tour, Pro Continental and continental teams. I’m especially excited about this race as it’s on my doorstop and I will be on the road to watch the peloton pass by on stage one. This years TDY will probably follow suit of the previous two editions. With the first two stages being one for the sprinters and the final stage being the decisive “GC” with a classic style type of race. Various 聽styled riders are attracted to Yorkshire with some big GC names, Classic specialist as well as the sprinters.聽

The 2017 Tour de Yorkshire start list is made up of BMC Racing Team,聽ORICA-Scott ,聽Direct Energie,聽Delko Marseille Provence KTM,聽Dimension Data,聽Team LottoNL-Jumbo,聽JLT Condor,聽One Pro Cycling,聽Aqua Blue Sport,聽Madison Genesis,聽Team Sky,聽Team Raleigh GAC,聽Team Sunweb,聽Team Katusha – Alpecin,聽BIKE Channel Canyon,聽Roompot – Nederlandse Loterij,聽Cofidis, Solutions Cr茅dits,聽Great Britain.

 


STAGE ONE

Stage One starts in the seaside town of聽Bridlington and heads into Pocklington for the first intermediate sprint. This comes at 55km and will likely be contested by a break, made up of WorldTour riders and those representing the continental British teams such as One Pro Cycling, Madison Genesis, Team Raleigh GAC, BIKE Channel Canyon as well as the Great Britain national team. The probable break will then contest the first classified climbs of TDY2017. Which will be C么te de Garrowby Hill. C么te de Goathland will be the next climb at 120km (so 70km of racing in-between). After Goathland, we head to Whitby for the聽second sprint of the day. 10km after the sprint we hit our final accent of the day. Robin Hood鈥檚 Bay will play host to the third and final climb. There is then almost 30km before the finish line, I imagine the peloton will wait till after the final climb to real the breakaway in. I’ll be roadside in the final 30km, watch out for me in Flyingdales. The stage finishing in Scarborough, which is no stranger to the Tour de Yorkshire. The weather may play an effect, with Yorkshire looking to treat the visiting peloton to an overcast and possibly rainy first day in the north of the county. This route is very similar to the first stage ever raced at the TDY back in 2015, when Lars Petter Nordhaug of Team Sky took the win, after bad weather and wind blew the race apart. Could we see a repeat this year?

Total stage length: 173km

3 King of the Mountain Climbs:聽Garrowby Hill, Goathland & Robin Hood’s Bay

2 Sprints: Pocklington & Whitby Abbey

FAVOURITES (Stage 1)聽

This stage looks like a early break will get away, mopping up the majority of the sprint and climbing points available before a highly likely聽sprint finish in Scarborough. Unless the weather drastically changes, and reeks havoc. The three big fast men at this years tour are Dylan Groenwegen of Team Lotto NL Jumbo , Aussie Caleb Ewan聽 for ORICA-Scott and Confidis rider Nacer Bouhanni. All three teams will be targeting stage victories, travelling with formidable lead outs to help delivery their respective fast men. This year the teams will have a greater understanding of race and conditions, although no on can predict how the weather may affect the race. I think with big sprinters like the trio mentioned, and the strength of their teams they will have a greater control over the break away.聽Dylan Groenwegen is the only one of the trio to have taken a stage victory in Yorkshire (beating Caleb Ewan into second on the opening stage of last years race).聽
I think Caleb Ewan just has enough to beat the other sprinters. Groenwegen is still awaiting his first victory聽of 2017, and despite Bouhanni taking victories this year, they have all come against lower calibre sprinters. Ewan was sensational at the start of the season in the Tour Down Under and the Abu Dhabi Tour. He hasn’t raced聽a great deal since with only Milan Sanremo (where he got a top 10 finish) and Flanders. Other sprinters to look out for are Baptiste Planckaert (Team Katusha-Alpecin), Danny Van Poppel (Team Sky), who has won a stage at the TDY聽last year against Groenwegen and Ewan hasn’t had the best start to 2017 with 6 DNF’s and the only victory coming in the Herald Sun Tour prologue. Young german sprinter Phil Bauhaus聽 (Team Sunweb), British champion Adam Blythe (Aqua Blue concept) and Brenton Jones (JLT Condor) . The stage also has a perfect launch point for attackers in Robin Hood’s bay Lillian Calmejane (Direct Energie), Jens Keukeleire (ORICA Scott) and Marco Haller (Team Katusha-Alpecin) plus a number of British riders聽could attempt a solo attack.聽

MY聽PREDICTION: Caleb Ewan 馃嚘馃嚭 (ORICA-Scott)

 


STAGE聽TWO

Stage Two starts in Tadcaster聽and after only 22km of racing will visit聽Knaresborough for the聽first intermediate sprint. So there may be a possible the sprint teams keeps the group together for the intermediate sprint before allowing the break to form. There is only one climb on stage two which聽comes at the 60km mark with the C么te de Lofthouse, before the second and final intermediate sprint of the day in Ripon (90km). The race will finish in聽Harrogate, and will finish on聽Parliament Street, the same finish line from the聽2014 Tour de France. In which Marcel Kittel took the victory and yellow jersey but may be best remembered for Mark Cavendish’s crash.The stage is very short and I predict will be very fast paced (weather permitting).

Total stage length: 122.5km

1 King of the Mountain Climbs: Lofthouse

2 Sprints: Knaresborough & Ripon

FAVOURITES (Stage 2)

Stage two could see some of the World Tour sprinter teams control the shortest stage of the Tour to allow their protected riders collect some points in聽Knaresborough, before allowing the break to form. With only one climb on todays stage it will be more for exposure then KOM points. So there will be no urgency of the big teams to get a man in the break and thus allowing the smaller continental British teams to get men up the road. This all depends on how stage one goes in Scarborough and if time gaps are taking into consideration.

I think it will agin come back down to the races sprinters and who survived stage one.聽Dylan Groenwegen,聽Caleb Ewan and聽Nacer Bouhanni will again be the big names to watch out for.The wide road finish will allow a full lead out train to form and if expected perfectly, should propel one of the pre race favourites to victory. I’ll back聽Dylan Groenwegen for stage two and his first victory of 2017, as I’m a big fan of his and Lotto NL Jumbo.Other sprinters to look out for are Baptiste Planckaert (Team Katusha-Alpecin), Danny Van Poppel (Team Sky),聽Phil Bauhaus聽 (Team Sunweb), British champion Adam Blythe (Aqua Blue concept) and Brenton Jones (JLT Condor).

MY聽PREDICTION: Dylan Groenwegen 馃嚦馃嚤聽 (Team Lotto NL Jumbo)

 


STAGE聽THREE

 

For the third and final stage will start in聽Bradford.聽The stage takes in the Yorkshire dales and a total of 8 categorised climbs and 2 sprints. It’ll be a mini classic!聽The first climb comes at Skipton via the聽C么te de Silsden. Then we have a cobbled accent聽up Haworth鈥檚聽main street in an Ardennes styled聽cobbled climb. This is followed by the climb at Leeming before the larger climb of聽C么te de Shibden Wall just before the 100km聽mark. This is where splits could form before the first intermediate sprint in Clifton. There is then a relatively steady stretch of 60 km before the final intermediate sprints at Stocksbridge which at the 175 km marks the start of the 聽22km finishing circuit that features four categorised climbs at Deepcar, Wigtwizzle, Ewden Height and Midhopestones before the race reaches its climax at Fox Valley.

Total stage length: 194.5km

8 King of the Mountain Climbs: Silsden, Haworth, Leeming, Shibden Wall, Deepcar, Wigtwizzle, Ewden Height & Midhopestones

2 Sprints:聽Brighouse & Stocksbridge

FAVOURITES (Stage 3)聽

“The Ardennes” visit Yorkshire for the decisive stage of the 2017 Tour de Yorkshire. The stage is 195 km long including聽cobbled climbs, views of聽Yorkshire Dales and what looks like a聽great day of road racing. Sunday’s forecast for West Yorkshire says there is a risk of showers but more likely a cloudy overcast Sunday for the final day of the TDY in 2017. This is by far the hardest stage to predict of all three days. The ride profile to will this stage will need to be able to climb, survive and either time a perfect late launch of a half decent reduced bunch sprint.聽it’s probably easier to rule out riders, although I’ve attempted to tip a single rider and give insight into some riders who could also be victories in Sheffield, come Sunday afternoon.聽
Last years winner Thomas Voeckler聽(Direct Energie) makes his third appearance at the third edition of the TDY, recording a podium 3rd place finish in 2015 and taking the stage and overall victory in Scarborough in 2016. “Tommy” is a cycling hero and synonymous with road cycling, having taking 39 pro wins and four stage victories at the Tour de France. He has all the aforementioned characteristics聽to take victory in Sheffield in what will be his final year as 聽pro after scheduling his retirement after this years Tour de France.
Another former winner is Lars Petter Nordhaugh (now with new Irish outfit Aqua Blue Concept) like Voeckler he took victory and the GC on the road of Scarborough in a reduced bunch sprint with some elite riders. Nordhaugh took victory in the colours of Team Sky back in the inaugural race in 2015. He is not carrying a great amount of form into the race and unlike in 2015, he does not have the squad depth of Team Sky to control the peloton and mark his rivals.
Third in last years race was Anthony Turgis聽of Confidis, who bring a great squad to this years race. As well as the races duties of delivering Nacer Bouahnni for the flat stages, there team also contains Stephane Rossetto, who has been at the previous two editions of TDY. He only just missed out on a podium spot on 2015. Confidis聽will look to use the advantage of having two riders , who both know this race well to there advantage.
Another team who could bring use two riders to their advantage is home favourites Team Sky. With Welshman Luke Rowe and “Yogi” Ian Stannard, They have two of the best British riders in their ranks. Rowe has recently taken the Team Sky leadership in the classics for major races such as Paris Roubaix and Flanders, whilst Ian Stannard 聽is a two time聽Omloop Het Nieuwsblad聽victor.
Lotto NL Jumbo bring a genuine Grant Tour rider to Yorkshire for 2017.聽Steven Kruijswijk was agonising close to taking victory at last years Giro d’Italia before an unfortunate crash. He just missed out on the podium and finished 4th at the Giro with his last preparation race before that being the 2016 TDY where he finished 5th on GC.
A younger rider to focus on is 22 year old Danish talent聽S酶ren Kragh Andersen (Team Sunweb) He can climb with the best of them, with him registering a victory at this years tour of Oman beating the likes of former World Champion Rui Costa, Fabio Aru and Romain Bardet. This year he also registered a top 20 finish at the聽Gent Wevelgem. He also finished fourth in a sprint in last years ZLM Tour which was won by聽Dylan Groenwegen. He is also a relatively good Time Trialist which could prove key if he manages to find himself going for along range solo attack on stage three.
At the opposite end of his career is 2016 Paris-Roubaix winner Matt Hayman聽(ORICA-Scott) at 39 years young, the Australian聽has the qualities and could find himself in the telling move despite his domestique duties to Caleb Ewan.
Finally the Team Dimension Data duo of British hopeful Scott Thwaites and belgian聽Serge Pauwels, both are very different riders. Thwaites is more accustomed the the classic styled racing and reduced bunch sprints whilst his Belgian compatriot Pauwels is climber by trade.聽
After that rather long break down of favourites (it is not highly likely we will get a full podium of rides I haven’t mentioned). I will be backing聽S酶ren Kragh Andersen聽of Team Sunweb. Just down to his abilities to spirit, climb and TT. He has shown great ability already in 2017 and I predict a big result from the Dane as he is given the protected rider responsibilities alongside sprinter Phil bauhaus by the german outfit, Team Sunweb.聽

 

MY聽PREDICTION: S酶ren Kragh Andersen 馃嚛馃嚢 聽(Team Sunweb)

 


RIDERS TO ONES TO WATCH

Connor Dunne 馃嚠馃嚜 聽(Aqua Blue Concept)

All two metres of Connor Dunne has been one of the most impressive riders for the newly formed Aqua Blue Concept in 2017. He has been noticeable in breaks recently and with a second place finish behind Luke Rowe in聽the Herald Sun Tour. Expect him to get in at least one break or attack in the three days in Yorkshire.

Chris Lawless 馃嚞馃嚙 聽(Great Britain)

It is also worth mentioning Chris Lawless of Axeon Hagens Berman who will be racing for the Great Britain national squad. Who is tipped for big things, at 21 he is very green but recorded some strong top ten results in last years TDY whilst racing for JLT Condor. He is yet to record a Pro win but the Axeon development squad are producing some great young riders.

Alex Frame 馃嚦馃嚳聽(JLT Condor)

The New Zealander has already won five stages for Continental team JLT Condor this year. I’m not 100% clued up of my British road racing teams this year, but JLT seemingly have a really strong roster.

Hayden Mccormick 馃嚦馃嚳聽(ONE Pro Cycling)

Another New Zealander. Although you are more likely to have heard about his for his recent run ins with at the聽Rutland – Melton Classic with Dan Fleming. Despite this he is obviously a very classy rider, who has some big victories already to his name despite just being 23/ Hopefully some strong performances can help everyone forget “finger gate”


 

MY FANTASY TEAM (Purist)

As it is not a World Tour race there is no competition聽at聽fantasy.road.cc

Hope you enjoyed my聽first preview of the Tour de Yorkshire, please leave a comment.

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