馃嚞馃嚙 Tour de Yorkshire 2018 – Preview

馃嚞馃嚙 Tour de Yorkshire 2018 – Preview

Photograph by James Whitesmith

OVERVIEW

The fourth edition of the Tour de Yorkshire returns in 2018 with a mixture of World Tour, Pro Continental and local 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, and hopefully stage two. This years the TDY has expanded to four stages, which may change the dynamic of the race to the previous three editions. Please see last years preview by clicking聽here.聽

The 2018 Tour de Yorkshire start list is made up of BMC Racing Team, Astana Pro Team, Team Sunweb, Team Sky, Roompot – Nederlandse Loterij, Direct Energie, Aqua Blue Sport, Euskadi – Murias, Cofidis, Solutions Cr茅dits, Dimension Data, Vital Concept Cycling Club, One Pro Cycling, Team Katusha – Alpecin, Great Britain, JLT Condor, Rally Cycling, Canyon Eisberg, Holdsworth Pro Racing, Vitus Pro Cycling & Madison Genesis.
There is some really big World Tour names attracted to this years race. No bigger than Olympic champion Greg Van Avermaet. The Belgian rider is coming off the back of a relatively disappointing classics campaign by his standards, although that still included four top 10 finishes.聽 Another Belgian returning to God’s Own Country is defending champion Serge Pauwels. Last year, Dimension Data recorded a 1-2 with Pauwels and Fraile on stage three into Fox Valley, Sheffield. Mike Teunissen will start the Tour de Yorkshire for this first time in 2018. He comes back off a impressive second place at Dwars door Vlaanderen, although his race will be predominately in support of teammate Phil Bauhaus. Although the biggest debut at the Tour de Yorkshire will be without a doubt ‘Cav’.聽 The Manxman will be aiming for a change of fortune in Yorkshire, compared to the last time he visited at the Tour de France, Grand茅 depart in 2014.

 


STAGE ONE

Stage One starts in the market town of聽Beverley and heads out to the seaside town of聽 Hornsea, before turning back through Beverley towards Pocklington. Just before Pocklington the peloton will face the first categorised climb of the Tour de Yorkshire in the C么te de Baggaby Hill (I love the french pronunciations through the Tour de Yorkshire). The C么te de Baggaby Hill is a 1.9km climb of 4.6%. After the climb it is shortly followed by the first intermediate sprint. This comes at 93km and will likely be contested by a break, made up of WorldTour riders and those representing the continental British teams. The second sprint is follows soon after, at 125km in Howden. Then we have a flat run into the finish in Doncaster. The stage comes to a close at 182km, which will inevitably end in a sprint.

Total stage length: 182km

1 King of the Mountain Climb:C么te de Baggaby Hill

2 Sprints: Pocklington & Howden

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 Doncaster. The biggest name sprinter at the race is undoubtably Mark Cavendish (Team Dimension Data), although this will be his first competitive stage back since his horror crash at Milano-Sanremo in March. He will be assisted as always by his Dimension Data team and in particular Mark Renshaw. Other World Tour sprinters such as Phil Bauhaus of Team Sunweb will have marked stage one as a possible stage victory. He has a young team to support him, although he has already proven this year his abilities against the biggest calibre of sprinters. Astana approach the race with two ‘sprinters’ in Magnus Cort Neilsen and Riccardo Minali. one may work for the other or Minali may be the protected rider on the flat stages whilst Cort gets the protection on the more selective stages. We’ll have to wait and see. Then there is GVA. The BMC team will be set up in support of Greg Van Avermaet who will be able to compete on the flat stages as well as the more taxing stages. GVA will most likely use the Tour de Yorkshire as a build up for races later in his calendar such as the Tour de Suisse and the Tour de France. Team Sky brings the young duo of Kristoffer Halvorsen and Chris Lawless. In the races that Team Sky’s ‘B’ have raced this year, we have seen Lawless working for the聽 young Norwegian for the most part. We may see a shift in tact at the Tour de Yorkshire, allowing Lawless to reap the full support of Team Sky. An honourable mention to some Pro Conti sprinters such as Adam Blythe (Aqua Blue Sport), Wouter Wippert (Roompot) and Bryan Coquard (Vital Concept Cycling Club). Ben Swift will also be present at this years Tour de Yorkshire and may be able to free-wheel his way to a high sprint finish. We haven’t seen Ben Swift in a big sprint for a while and with his impressive climbing skills may be more tempted to target one of the more challenging stages. My favourite part of the Tour de Yorkshire apart from it being on my doorstep is the mix of top World tour riders and local British based riders. Riders such as Olivier Wood , Ian Bibby (both JLT Condor), Gabriel Cullaigh, Tom Pidcock (both Great Britian) Connor Swift (Madison Genesis) & Karol Domgalski (One pro cycling).聽

MY聽PREDICTION: Mark Cavendish 馃嚞馃嚙 聽(Team Dimension Data) It’s got to be hasn’t it!聽

 


STAGE聽TWO

Stage two starts in Barnsley and after only 29km of racing will visit聽C么te de Blacker Hill for the聽first climb of the day. This is followed up 12km later by the first intermediate sprint of the day in Swinton. Then we have a relatively flat course (with a few little bumps along the way)聽 to the second intermediate sprint in Scholes, 104km into the stage. The stage then begins to later slightly to a more selective field with the second climb of the day at C么te de Old Pool Bank less than 20km from the finish. The climb is 1km climb reaching 10% before descending into Otley on the run in to Ilkley. With 5km to go the riders will enter Ilkley before starting the run up to the finish, consisting of the uphill sprint to聽C么te de Cow and Calf, a 1.8km climb reaching 8.2%. This stages final could very, could we see the break take the spoils if the chasers don’t organise themselves in time. It’s probably unlikely with the host of World Tour team we have at the race and therefore more likely a select group of riders or a solo attack takes place in the final 20km (this will only be possible if some of the big WT teams have a man in the move. Therefore it is still a high possibility the full peloton arrives in Ilkley together and the more specialist riders take a crack at the uphill sprint.

Total stage length: 149km

3 King of the Mountain Climbs: C么te de Blacker Hill,聽C么te de Old Pool Bank and聽C么te de Cow and Calf.

2 Sprints: Swinton & Scholes

FAVOURITES (Stage 2)

Unlike previous editions of the Tour de Yorkshire, in 2018 we may see a ‘GC’ move early on in the race forcing teams to attack over the following two stages. if a select group of riders are to make the split, the key to it’s survival is the make up of the selection. On paper the strongest teams at the race are BMC, Astana, Sunweb, Sky and Dimension Data. If these five all make the move. It will be very hard for any other teams to pull them back in such a short distance. Whereas if a couple of the big teams miss it, there is a much greater chance the move will be brought back.

Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing), if he doesn’t make the selection it is more than likely the group will have to do battle with BMC to keep away. Serge Pauwels (Dimension Data) will be looking to defend his crown, the first person in Tour de Yorkshire history. Magnus Cort Neilsen or Yevgeniy Gidich (both Astana). Cort may be targeting the flatter stages so might give this one a rest and give a chance to the young Kazak rider Gidich, who’s coming off the back of a very impressive Tour of Croatia. I think Dylan Van Baarle will be the main man for Team Sky. The former Tour of Britian winner has looked sharp this year for Sky despite claiming a victory, with riders such as Doull and Stannard in the team he’ll surely be well supported. Young Australian Jai Hindley might be the man in a select group for Team Sunweb. This might be a little too steep for Mike Teunissen. Other riders who could feature in this ‘Select group’ could be聽Jonathon Hivert (Direct Energie). Hivert is having a good season and has raced the Tour de Yorkshire before. Finishing on the podium last year, Direct Energie also bring on average the oldest squad to the race (all that a lot of that being Sylvain Chavanel) could this benefit them against the relatively young WT squads? Another experienced rider who could target this stage is dutchman Peter Weening (Roompot).聽The PCM Hero, Eduard Prades (Euskadi – Murias) could maybe also contest stage two. Katusha Alpecin could release Marco Haller or Reto Hollenstein for a solo attack or group attack.聽Ben Swift (Great Britian) could make the selection or target the uphill drag. Another rider who has previously done well is Frenchman Stephane Rossetto (Confidis) and could follow some attacks on stage two.

MY聽PREDICTION: Dylan Van Baarle馃嚦馃嚤聽 (Team Sky)

 


STAGE聽THREE

 

For the third stage will start in聽Richmond, North Yorkshire.聽The stage takes in a vast amount of North Yorkshire including two categorised climbs and two sprints. Although in first two editions of the Tour de Yorkshire, Scarborough was the decisive stage in race crowning Lars Petr Nordhaug and Tommy Voeckler as stage and overall leaders. Last year saw Scarborough play out a sprint stage in which Dylan Groenwegen took the spoils. The first action on stage three comes at Morton on Swale via a points sprint. Then the break and peloton will take on the first climb of the day over the C么te de Sutton Bank around the 70km mark. The climb does peek at 12% but if any splits are created we the peloton will have enough road to bring everything back together. The next action we see is at the 102.5km mark when we visit Pickering for the second and final points sprint of the day. The peloton climbs the second climb of the day at 132.5km at the聽聽C么te de Slipho, a 1.5km climb at 8.2%. After the climb there is another 50km before the finish line in Scarborough.聽

Total stage length: 184km

2 King of the Mountain Climbs: C么te de Sutton Bank &聽C么te de Slipho

2 Sprints:聽Morton on Swale & Pickering

FAVOURITES (Stage 3)聽

This years Tour de Yorkshire should follow the pattern of sprint stage, GC stage, sprint stage and GC stage. The third stage ‘should ‘ be a stage for the sprinters. Much like stage one into Doncaster the sprinters will contest the run into Scarborough. Procyclingstats.com has the top five sprinters at the race as Greg Van Avermaet (Team BMC), Magnus Cort Neilsen (Astana), Phil Bauhaus (Team Sunweb), Jon Aberasturi (Euskadi-Murias) and Wouter Wippert (Roompot). Although the biggest name sprinter, Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) is featured in the top 10! I predict the young german sprinters for Team Sunweb to go well, with Dimension Data possible having one eye on protecting Serge Pauwels and keeping him in the best condition possible for him to defend his crown on stage four.

MY聽PREDICTION: Phil Bauhaus聽聽馃嚛馃嚜聽(Team Sunweb)

 


STAGE FOUR

This final stage features six classified climbs and over 3,400 metres of climbing.聽Starting in the West Yorkshire town of Halifax, the riders first head into North Yorkshire tackling the first climb of the day after only 16km of racing. The C么te de Hebden Bridge climb is a 7km climb reaching 4.6%. The second climb of the day isn’t far behind with the C么te de Goose Eye (1.5km at 10%). By this point the days break will probably be formed and battling it out for the points and KOM classification. These climbs will also be affecting the peloton behind. After the days of hard racing already in the pelotons legs, the peloton could see a grupetto form early on in the stage, with a selective peloton up the road. The third climb of the day comes at kilometre 48.5, the c么te de Barden Moor is another short pull of 1km at 9.5%. Next on the road is the first sprint of the day at Kilnsey, 67.5km in to the stage and following the previous three climbs we may see whomever is leading the sprints classification struggle to contest there jersey if they are not a combative climber. Therefor we could see a more established rounder rider take on the points jersey rather than a traditional conti level rider. 10km after the sprint in Kilnsey the round climbs again with the聽C么te de Park Rash, a 2.2km drag聽 at 10.5%. After this the riders will reach a relatively passive section of the stage. For the next 60km there is no sprints or categorised climbs, with the feed station at Middleham just before the 100km mark a chance for the riders to refuel and refocus for the decisive conclusion to the 2018 Tour de Yorkshire. The fifth climb of the day is the ascent of the C么te de聽 Greenhow Hill. Situated at kilometre 138km and 3.3km at 8.2% the climb is followed 30km later by the final climb of the day, the聽C么te de Otley Chevin. The steepist climb of the stage at 10.3%聽 and 1.4km in length. Could really test an already reduced peloton, and with limited numbers attacks could start to reign in. The climb is 25km out from the finish, which includes the final points sprint at the tour at kilometre 173, just over 15km out from home. This stage could becoem a staplehodl of British cycling and a mini classic within itself.

Total stage length: 189.5km

6 King of the Mountain Climbs: C么te de聽 Hebden Bridge, C么te de聽 Goose Eye, C么te de聽 Barden Moor, C么te de Park Rash, C么te de聽 Greenhow Hill & C么te de Otley Chevin

2 Sprints: Kilnsey & Arthington

FAVOURITES (Stage 4)聽

This stage has to be approached as a classics stage and therefore the classic styled riders who can survive the climbs, follow attacks and possible prevail in a bunch sprint at the end of it, will be the favourites to claim victory in Leeds and possibly the Tour De Yorkshire crown.聽The BMC team will be set up in support of Greg Van Avermaet who I’m sure would of ear-marked the final stage.聽 To be fair this years Tour de Yorkshire looks like it might of been designed by GVA himself. After a fairly disappointing classics campaign I think the Olympic champion could use this as a brilliant race to kick start his 2018 season.聽 Team Sky will put up a good fight with possibly four of the Team Sky’s seven man roster in contention for the final stages. Dylan Van Baarle and Ian Stannard I suspect will be the protected riders who have previous in classic style races and have experienced in tactics needed to prevail in such stages. Team Sky also have Owain Doull and Kristoffer Halvorsen. Halvorsen may well be the protected sprinters for stage one and three and he also may not have the climbing pedigree to survive into the later stages of the race. Doull on the other hand has previous on British stage racing, especially in his final season with Team Wiggins. He has predominately been deployed as domestique in the classics for Team Sky, but the Tour de Yorkshire could see Sky allow the welshman to race his own race. Mike Teunisen (Team Sunweb) is another rider who will fancy the final stage. The Dutchman finished second at Dwars door Vlaanderen and overall had a very successful classics campaign. Defending champion Serge Pauwels (Team Dimension Data) will be without former teammate Omar Fraile this year and his team is relatively week in climbing/classic domestiques, compared to that of BMC and Sky. He will really but up against it to keep the pace and may have to attempt a long range solo attack and hope for disorganisation from the group behind.聽Jonathon Hivert (Direct Energie) is another rider having a good season and has raced the Tour de Yorkshire before, finishing on the podium last year behind the Dimension Data pair. Hivert has already taken victories at聽Tour Cycliste International du Haut Var Matin,聽Tour du Finist猫re (beating Romain Bardet) and also a stage at Paris Nice in 2018. Other riders worth noting are Astana’s duo of Moreno Moser and Magnus Cort Neilsen and Great Britain’s Ben Swift. Some of the continental teams may also look at solo attacks, I think the break has no chance on the final stage with the overall lead and stage honours up for grabs.聽

MY聽PREDICTION: Greg Van Avermaet 馃嚙馃嚜聽(BMC Racing Team)

 


RIDERS TO ONES TO WATCH

Etienne Van Empel馃嚦馃嚤(Roompot – Nederlandse Loteri)

Roompot – Nederlandse Loteri will be riding in support of Pieter Weenign and Wouter Wippert but I’m excited to see Etienne Van Empel at this years race. He will not contest the GC or the sprints but think, if allowed, he could be Roompot’s guy to get in the breaks and mix it up in the KOM and Sprints classification.

Ben Swift聽馃嚞馃嚙 聽(Great Britain)

I was really surprised to see Swift’s name of the Great Britain team roster. The UAE Team emirates rider has long been a favourite of mine. Swift will be making his return to action after suffering a fractured vertebrae at the Tour of Flanders. He’s unfortunately always been a rider with a very specific skill set and not a very defined role within any team he’s been in. Is he a sprinter, a guy for the classics or even a climber? Hopefully without any team tactics we can see Swift challenge in the sprints and on the climbs.

Thomas Pidcock 馃嚞馃嚙 聽(Great Britain)

The prince of British cycling. After winning the World Road championships for juniors in 2017, he signed for Team Wiggins and I’ll be looking forward to watching him on the Yorkshire roads. Could Pidcock target a home stage victory in Leeds?

Bryan Coquard聽馃嚝馃嚪聽(Vital Concept Cycling Club)

The most hot and cold rider of a generation. I really like the frenchman and always thought he was a WorldTour level sprinter. His move to聽Vital Concept Cycling Club from Direct Energie saw him miss out on last years tour. Despite in the previous edition (2016) he was millimetres away from his maiden Tour de France stage victory, losing out to Marcel Kittel. Lets see how he gets on, on stage one and three of this years race.

Jonathon Hivert聽馃嚝馃嚪聽(Direct Energie)

I really fancy Hivert for this years race. He’s been on a really good run of form and has previous at the Tour de Yorkshire. I’m looking for odds on the overall winner 馃檪

 


 

#FANTASYFIVES

This year I’m helping Will at Inside Peloton run the Tour de Yorkshire competition. Makes sure you get on over to Inside Peloton to enter the #FantasyFives competition for this years race. To enter a team either comment on the post or Tweet @InsidePeloton96聽your five man team.

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