By Henry Arnold
The Tour de France was an overwhelming success. The two stages held in Yorkshire: Leeds to Harrogate and York to Sheffield, drew crowds totalling 2.5m. Not only did the Tour bring the sport into more and more homes it also proved that the Yorkshire terrain can be as every bit as challenging as stages held over the Channel. The only shame from a British perspective was that Green Jersey favourite Mark Cavendish had to withdraw after a crash in his mother’s hometown of Harrogate.
Yorkshire really has everything a cyclist would want to encounter. You have the Yorkshire Dales, a 78 mile circular cycle that encounters four peaks: Pen-y-ghent, Ingelborough and Whernside being the three famous ones, while the tranquil country roads are extremely safe to ride and the abundance of greenery is extremely calming.
You also have the Yorkshire Moors, which were ridden in the Second Stage. Although it was classed as a flat ride the Moors has plenty of short steep inclines whilst the bendy road makes for some challenging cycling. Just like the Dales you have very little traffic, it’s just you and the animals that call the Moors their home.
There just two distinct parts of the Yorkshire routes. The Tour dissects the Peak District as well. As witnessed with the Tour, Yorkshire is a brilliant place to ride regardless of your actual ability. It’s a county of sharp contrasts, there are miles and miles of flat roads to traverse whilst there is also just as many hills to plough up.
Yorkshire fully justified its inclusion in the Tour de France and it’s a good job they have as we now have some fantastic, known routes in the region.