General entries are now open for the Maserati Tour de Yorkshire Ride 2018; the iconic and infamously tough legacy sportive of the Grand Depart 2014. Taking place on Sunday 6 May from Woodhouse Moore in Leeds and finishing on The Headrow, six thousand amateur cyclists will have the chance to ride key sections of the Tour de Yorkshire final stage, just hours before the pros.
Organisers have seen record numbers of entries at the 'Mystery Location' price, with a quarter of the places taken before the location of the ride was announced to be in Leeds.
Today the routes for the ride have also been revealed. Taking place on the same roads as the opening stage of the 2014 Tour de France, the event offers stunning cycling through the county. With three distances available, there are routes suitable for all levels of ability; long (129km / 2059m of climbing), medium (84km / 1228m of climbing), and short (49km / 600m of climbing).
Tour Ride route: Emmerdale and giant golf balls
Leaving Leeds towards Emmerdale, the 2018 route heads into North Yorkshire, climbing through North Rigton, skirting Harrogate, and passing Beckwithshaw and Killinghall.
Riders will get the chance to see the giant golf balls of the American Military Base, Menwith Hill, before heading towards Summerbridge, where they climb past Brimham Rocks and join the pro race route at Kirby Malzead. From here the cyclists climb past the Devil's Elbow to Dallowgill Moor.
A descent into Pateley Bridge brings a bit of respite for the legs before the riders' tackle Greenhow Hill. Heading towards Otley, riders cross back in to West Yorkshire and face the second King of the Mountain stage as they leave East Chevin. Next is a climb up Black Hill Lane, then back to central Leeds where they cross the pro finish line in Millennium Square.
The expert route designers have described the undulating route as "bringing new meaning to the phrase 'up-hill and down dale'". New for 2018, in partnership with Strava, there will be segment challenges on closed road sections at Greenhow Hill and Black Hill Lane, with King of the Mountain, Queen of the Mountain and Sprint Jerseys up for grabs. Riders can also compare their times against the pros who will ride on the exact same stretch of road later in the day.
Cyclists will be supported with feed stations on the route, stocked with high performance energy products from nutrition partner Optimum Nutrition, and can expect to receive pre-ride and on course mechanical help from mobile bike mechanic solution, VonCrank.
"Yorkshire never fails"
Nick Rusling, CEO of the sportive organisers Human Race, says: "We say it every year, but the route this year is exceptionally tough - Yorkshire never fails. Cyclists will be tackling the same brutal climbs as the pros, and it'll be made worthwhile when they cross the same finish line with the same roaring crowds. There's no other UK sportive quite like it."
Sir Gary Verity, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, says; "What's so fantastic about the event being in Leeds is that it makes it accessible for people to travel from across the UK and overseas to take part. The reason this event is so iconic is the pride and passion that the people of Yorkshire show whenever the eyes of the UK and the world are on our county."
James Cowan, Marketing Manager, Maserati GB, said: "We are proud to continue our involvement with the Maserati Tour de Yorkshire Ride and return to Leeds where it all started back in 2015. The three routes each present challenges for the 2018 riders and we look forward to welcoming them over the finish line in May."
This event also makes a serious fundraising challenge, and there are still places available with the official charity partners including; Maggie's, Yorkshire Air Ambulance, Jane Tomlinson Appeal, Prostate Cancer UK, Alzheimer's Society, and Cancer Research UK.
Standard entry for the long and medium route is priced £50 while the short route is £45. For full details of the routes and to secure a place, visit www.letouryorkshire.com/ride.