The Tour De Yorkshire: Hors Catégorie!

The host towns and cities for the 2019 edition of the Tour de Yorkshire were announced yesterday…

…and two things should stand out.

Firstly, that ‘Hors Catégorie‘ classification (or, as Sir Gary managed to mangle it into, ‘whore’s category’ which is surely a ranking system used for a different leisure activity altogether). As any francophone worthy of the name will know, ‘hors‘ means ‘outside of’ or ‘beyond’ (as in ‘hors d’oeuvre‘ – something that you eat that is before, or ‘outside of’ the main meal, or ‘work’).  I’ve delved into a bit of in depth online research (OK, Wikipedia…) and, well, it’s complicated. This is what Jeff Jones and John Stevenson say on

“The UCI has classification criteria that it applies to races, with a classification convention that reflects the type (one day or stage race); and relative importance of the race with respect to UCI points, prize money and the numbers of Division I/II/III teams that are allowed to start.”

So that’s the basic criteria. The top level – the Premier League if you like – of cycle races is the group of ‘World Tour’ races which currently consist of the following:

  • The three Grand Tours
  • The five Monument one-day races
  • Ten further stage races in Europe
  • Twelve further one-day races in Europe
  • One stage race in Australia
  • One stage race in United Arab Emirates
  • One stage race in United States
  • One stage race in China
  • One one-day race in Australia
  • Two one-day races in Canada

(That’s just copied from Wikipedia btw…)

The next group – the Championship perhaps – are the HC races, the hors catégorie races; the ones that are, I suppose, just outside of the two lower categories, or is it that they are outside the World Tour? Either way, it’s the category that is just below the World Tour. Not bad for a race that’s only being going for five years. Perhaps the World Tour – and its obligation by the big teams to take part – beckons. Time will tell.

The other thing to stand out from yesterday’s announcement (aside from the race’s return to my own home town of Halifax for the second consecutive year) is the clever decision to include the Harrogate circuit within the four days of racing. Remember that the 2019 UCI World Championships are coming to Yorkshire and will be based in Harrogate. Presumably the desired impact of the inclusion of the Harrogate circuit is to attract some big names to take part in the Tour de Yorkshire, a few months before the championships themselves. What’s betting that they insert the Harrogate loop (which, apparently, cannot be cycled outside of race competitions as it will be run in the opposite direction to the normal traffic of cars, buses and lorries) on day four of the race. Clever…


Here’s a look back to the race in 2017 as it climbed Shibden Wall, Calderdale…

Header image: The Piece Hall, Halifax, starting line for stage four of the Tour de Yorkshire in 2018. Grand Départ in 2019? As they say around here:


Categories: Cycling

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What do you think?