The full routes for the 2020 Tour de Yorkshire and Asda Tour de Yorkshire Women’s Race have been unveiled at Leeds Civic Hall.
Both routes will be the toughest in the history of the race and feature more climbing than ever before, including the Côtes de Buttertubs and Grinton Moor – both making their first appearances since the 2014 Tour de France – and the return of the infamous Shibden Wall.
New Welcome to Yorkshire Chief Executive James Mason greeted a packed press conference on Friday morning with the Amaury Sport Organisation’s Tour de France Director Christian Prudhomme.
Dame Sarah Storey and Skipton’s Pete Williams were among the professional riders in attendance, with Lizzie Deignan and reigning men’s champion Chris Lawless sending in special video messages from Majorca and Australia respectively.
The sixth edition of the men’s race will take place between 30 April – 3 May and form part of the inaugural UCI ProSeries. Its new 2.Pro classification remains the highest-possible status for a multi-day race outside of the UCI WorldTour. It encompasses all four corners of the county and takes in 160 villages, towns and cities along the way.
The Asda Tour de Yorkshire Women’s Race meanwhile, runs between 1-2 May and will once again be one of the most lucrative races in the sport.
Thursday 30 April – Stage One Men (176.5km):
The Yorkshire Coast Stage – Beverley to Redcar
The men’s race gets going in Beverley and proceeds to Hornsea before following the coastline in a northerly direction. The first intermediate sprint will be contested in Flamborough, and Filey and Robin Hood’s Bay both make welcome returns before the first mountains classification points are up for grabs on the Côte de Hooks House Farm. With those in the bag, a second intermediate sprint will take place at Whitby Abbey, and once the riders have passed through Sandsend they’ll be faced with the second climb of the day – the Côte de Lythe Bank. Any riders that fall off the pace on there will have to work hard to get themselves back into contention before the action reaches a gripping conclusion in Redcar – the most northerly location the Tour has ever visited.
Friday 1 May – Stage Two Men, Stage One Women (both 124.5km):
The Three Peaks Stage – Skipton to Leyburn
The world’s top female riders join the action in Skipton and start in the morning with the men following in the afternoon. Both routes are identical and feature two intermediate sprints in the opening 35km. The first comes in Settle with the other following in Horton in Ribblesdale. The route then heads past the Three Peaks and Ribblehead Viaduct, and once the riders have exited Hawes, the Côte de Buttertubs will be immediately upon them. This rises to the highest point of the race and is one of two climbs that have not been visited since the 2014 Tour de France. The other is the Côte de Grinton Moor, and that fearsome double-header could see a few stragglers distanced before a fiercely contested finale in Leyburn.
Saturday 2 May – Stage Three Men (134km), Stage Two Women (114.5km):
The Heritage Stage – Barnsley to Huddersfield
The riders will loop around Barnsley Town Hall before heading out of town and the pace is likely to ramp up for the first intermediate sprint in Oxspring. Penistone and Holmfirth then both feature before the first categorised climb comes on the Côte de Netherthong. The Côte de Scapegoat Hill is next up, and once that’s been crested the route continues towards Hebden Bridge. Here the two routes split. The women will immediately tackle the Côte de Hebden Bridge while the men commence an 18.6km loop which takes them into Todmorden and up a brutal climb bearing the town’s name. They’ll then drop back into Hebden Bridge and re-join the women’s route before following it all the way to the finish. The Côte de Leeming’s presence will prove taxing, but it’s the Côte de Shibden Wall where the fireworks are most likely to be seen. This cobbled behemoth strikes fear into all those who attempt it, and the fact it comes just 18km from the finish means it could prove a springboard for late attacks. Any sprinters still in contention will fancy their chances in the second intermediate sprint at Bank Top, but there’s only likely to be a select bunch of stars who’ll still be in contention when the race reaches Huddersfield. It is here that the winner of the Asda Tour de Yorkshire Women’s Race will be crowned before the male riders battle it out for stage success.
Sunday 3 May – Stage Four Men (177.5km):
The Yorkshire Classic – Halifax to Leeds
Halifax’s Piece Hall is a spectacular location for the start of this decisive stage for the men before they head into Brontë Country. Haworth’s quaint cobbled Main Street will feature prior to the opening intermediate sprint in Oakworth. The first of seven categorised climbs is then looming large, and the Côte de Goose Eye could catch a few riders unaware coming so early in the stage. The action then returns to Skipton before the next climb comes on the Côte de Barden Moor. Once that has been scaled it’s on to Burnsall where the riders hit the Côte de Skyreholme. In Greenhow the route commences a 64km loop which includes the Côte de Lofthouse. Any stragglers that slip back on there will seek to regain parity on the subsequent descent into Masham, and then it’s back to Pateley Bridge before the riders head back up the Côte de Greenhow Hill. A second intermediate sprint will be contested in Ilkley before the race hits the infamous Côte de Cow and Calf. The final climb will then be fought out on Otley Chevin and the race then sweeps into the outskirts of Leeds via Kirkstall Abbey. All the while the pace will be rising and the action promises to reach a rip-roaring conclusion once again along The Headrow.
James Mason, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said: “It’s exciting for me to be involved with the Tour de Yorkshire for the very first time and this year’s routes look fantastic. Many of our county’s iconic climbs are included, and we’re particularly pleased to see Buttertubs and Grinton Moor making appearances after they were unfortunately cut from the World Championships route on account of the weather last September.
“Seeing the men and women tackle Shibden Wall will also be special, and we’re delighted to be bringing the race to so many new places as well. We’re lucky to have such a diversity of landscapes here in Yorkshire and these races will have something for every type of rider. I’m really looking forward to it and I’m sure we’re in for some really exciting action.”
Christian Prudhomme, ASO’s Tour de France Director, said: “Once again, the team at Welcome to Yorkshire have done a tremendous job in designing such a beautiful, challenging and varied route and I am looking forward to seeing how both races play out.
“They are both harder than ever before, and when you factor in the millions of fans that will be lining the route, we know that the 2020 edition will be one to remember.”