Watch: Tour de Yorkshire to come to Pontefract

Tour de Yorkshire ceremonial start at Wakefield The riders speed their way through the streets of Wakefield

Tour de Yorkshire ceremonial start at Wakefield The riders speed their way through the streets of Wakefield

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The route for the Tour de Yorkshire – the biggest cycling race in Britain – has been announced.

And the eyes of the world will be on Kellingley, Knottingley, Pontefract and North and South Elmsall as the riders will pass through the towns and villages for the first time.

It will take place in three stages next year and thousands of people are expected to line the streets across the county to watch the race.

Stage one on Friday, April 29 will start in Beverley and finish, 184km later, in Settle.

The riders will parade around Beverley, which played host to the race in 2015, and then head towards the official start at Beverley Racecourse.

They will pass through Wetherby, North Deighton and Knaresborough before finishing in Settle town centre.

Cllr Peter Box drops the flag as the riders prepare for stage 3 of the Tour de Yorkshire in Wakefield

Cllr Peter Box drops the flag as the riders prepare for stage 3 of the Tour de Yorkshire in Wakefield

Stage two on Saturday, April 30 will begin in Otley, home town of current women’s road World Champion Lizzie Armitstead.

The official start is at Pool-in-Wharfedale and the riders face an early King of the Mountain challenge at Harewood Bank.

The cyclists will head to Kellingley, Knottingley, Pontefract and North and South Elmsall, before finishing in Doncaster.

Stage two will also feature the women’s race, which will encompass the same route as the men’s race.

The women will start racing in the morning and the men will compete in the afternoon.

Stage three on Sunday, May 1 begins in Middlesbrough and finishes, 196km later, in Scarborough.

Riders will head over the North York Moors and pass through Great Ayton, Stokesley, and Northallerton.

They will then travel to Whitby, Hawkser and Robin Hood’s Bay, before a sprint finish in Scarborough’s North Bay.

The race will be shown live on television in the UK and across Europe, affording Yorkshire’s tourism industry another “shop window”.

The Tour de Yorkshire has been organised by Welcome to Yorkshire and Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), with support from British Cycling and local authorities throughout the county.

And it forms part of the legacy of the historic Yorkshire Grand Départ of the Tour de France 2014.

Welcome to Yorkshire chief executive Sir Gary Verity said: “For next year’s race we’ve selected routes which showcase Yorkshire’s stunning scenery and will also deliver an excellent sporting event.

“Our first race was phenomenally successful, bringing 1.5m spectators to the roadside, generating over £50m for the regional economy and being broadcast around the world - not many races can say that.

“The stages we’ve revealed are eagerly anticipated by fans, riders and teams and we have all the ingredients for another spectacular race which will bring the crowds back out.”

Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme said: “I am always happy to be back in Yorkshire and marks an important milestone for the race.

“Feedback from teams and riders last year was excellent and this year we have three stages which together create a race right to the end; the final King of the Mountain points are barely six kilometres from the final finish line.”

Wakefield Council leader Peter Box is delighted the race will return to the district next year. He said: “I am very pleased that we are welcoming this fantastic sporting event into another part of the district next year.

“This prestigious cycle race is an excellent platform to showcase what we have and bring visitors into the area. The inaugural race was a huge success which saw thousands of people lining the streets and created a lot of excitement in cycling. I hope that next year’s event will be just as successful, giving another huge boost to our district.”

Amateur cyclists will also be given a chance to ride many of the roads ridden by the professionals in a newly designed sportive route, which will start and finish in Scarborough.

The sportive route will follow parts of stage three and will include alternative roads to allow the 6,000 participants to finish in their own time.

The Tour de Yorkshire started in Wakefield for the final stage in May this year.