Road World Championships Day 9: Leeds to Harrogate Circuit
On a route that evokes memories of the 2014 Grand Depart the Elite Mens Race will begin in the very heart of the City of Leeds.
This metropolitan centre of West Yorkshire is a vibrant 24 hour city with rich cultural scene and a mix of heritage buildings and 21st century city lifestyle.
UPDATE: DUE TO HEAVY RAIN THE ROUTE FOR THE ELITE MEN ROAD RACE HAS BEEN ALTERED. PLEASE SEE THE OFFICIAL YORKSHIRE2019 AND UCI_CYCLING TWITTER FEEDS FOR MORE INFORMATION
The race takes a scenic route through Leeds before heading north for journey in the Yorkshire Dales that begins along the River Wharfe beginning in the home of Yorkshire cycling, the market town of Otley.
The riders will then make their way to the historic town of Skipton before heading on to upper Wharfedale for the first of the big climbs, Cray. This long drawn out ramp will begin to put some hurt into the legs of those looking to keep the break out front.
Now in the heart of the Dales it’s a scenic tour of popular dales towns as the route visits Aysgarth, Bainbridge and Hawes before the biggest climb of the day, the infamous Buttertubs Pass – the climb that give rise to some of the most iconic images of the weekend of 2014’s Grand Depart.
From there it’s the long undulating run down Swaledale to the idyllic town of Reeth, before the final climb of Grinton Moor, this may not be the biggest climb but it is nonetheless tight and winding and the advantage will certainly be with those who have ridden it before.
With the climbing done it’s all eyes on Harrogate, and the pack will set about reeling in any breakaway that might still be out there. The rolling hills will be ever gentler as the race passes through Leyburn and Middleham before sweeping through the brewery Town of Masham, where race celebrations are always full of colour and character.
From there it’s on to the cathedral city of Ripon, with its dramatic skyline and medieval history. With the roads getting flatter the race then makes its final turn towards Harrogate. Unlike 2014 Grand Depart however, this is the not the end of the race. A staggering seven laps of the finishing circuit will burn away at already aching legs and test the stamina of the entire peloton.
At the end of this mammoth effort, and the 250km they will have travelled it may well be a bunch sprint for the line that decides the 2019 World Champion, and the wearer of the coveted Rainbow Stripes.
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