Tour de Yorkshire – Recce of Stage 3


The three day UCI Tour de Yorkshire will see many of the World’s best coming back to race on the roads used in last year’s Tour de France and NFTO took a close look at the final stage.

RST Cycle  Clothing & Trigon Bikes

Tour de Yorkshire – Recce of Stage 3


The Tour de Yorkshire is a big target for the British based teams who will be taking on the WorldTour teams on home roads with little in the way of big race preparation as getting invites to UCI stage races is not easy these days.


For Last of the Summer Wine fans, this was a pic we had to take the NFTO riders outside the cafe made famous in the TV series.

Which is why the NFTO team took full advantage of some time during last week to ride the course for the Tour de Yorkshire.

Reports on the stage 1 and 2 recce are already on VeloUK and in this feature, we look at the final stage where along the route were many leftovers from the Tour de France from riders names on roads to yellow bikes adorning buildings.

This year’s race is a legacy of the Tour de France coming to Yorkshire in 2014 and we can only hope ASO can meet the challenge of running the event for years to come and keep the momentum going of more and more UCI racing coming to Britain.


The course for stage 3 of the Tour de Yorkshire (click to see the interactive one)

The Tour de Yorkshire in just over a month is going to be one tough race. The first day saw the NFTO riders climbing thousands of metres and whilst the second day was on rolling roads, the wind was the rider’s enemy and if the riders (teams) in May are up for it, a team or two could blow the race apart should the weather be as bad as it was for NFTO’s ride of the stages parcours.

It was the third stage that mostly gets talked about though. Many of the roads were used in the Tour de France in 2014 and it is again, like stage 1, a relentless course that if raced hard, will probably see the DNF list well into double figures.


The long climb of out of Holmfirth (322m Côte de Holmfirth (2.9km at 5.5%), perhaps the longest climb up until that point of the race. Funny, it seemed steeper than 5.5%! 

The weather gods smiled on the NFTO riders on their final recce of the course and they piled into the team cars for the trip to the start at Wakefield. This is where the stage starts and whilst the riders stayed in the cars for a little longer, the course was far from flat on the run up to Holmfirth via Barnsley.

I doubt there were any flat roads and the wind was ever present as well just to make it that little bit harder. Just before Holmfirth, the riders deserted the team cars in a pub car park and got on their bikes for the start of five hours in the saddle.

It was to be a tour of some of the most well-known historic tourist spots in the county; Holmfirth, Hebden Bridge, Haworth, Ilkley and more. The climbs were long and many were steep as well but it was the sheer relentless nature of the course that will break many a rider in May.

During the day, dodging the many road closures that made the exercise of trying to follow the riders that little bit more challenging, the NFTO riders two by two at the front, rode up and down all day until they reached Roundhay Park for the finish.

It was there I spoke to them to get their impressions of the day and the three days in Yorkshire.


Sam Harrison (above) didn’t waste time getting down to the nitty gritty – “its bloody hard” is how the Welsh rider who was second in the Betty Pharoah road race last weekend. “I’ve seen over three thousand metres of climbing so that will make the stage a tough one especially after the first two days as well. We missed out 40k and it was still a hard five hours in the saddle going up and down all day”.

Rob Partridge, who used to live in the area, says he knew many of the roads on the second half of the course from Ripponden to the finish. “It was nice to ride them again. It’s all the hard climbs I know grouped together in one ride so it will be a savage day. It will be about surviving and one for little skinny climbers”.

Asked for a memorable climb, he said the ‘Cote de Goose Eye’. “I was staying there with a friend over the winter and had a few nights walking back from the pub after a few bevies up this steep climb”.

“The stage will be a war of attrition because it sounds crazy but even the descents are hard work because you have to concentrate so much and they are over so quick you don’t get much recovery time before you are climbing again.”

“It will be great for the spectators to watch on tele with the aerial shots”.

“I watched how hard it was for the riders in the Tour de France last year on stage 2 and the selection that came from that and I think this is harder. It will be interesting to see if the teams come with out and out climbers”.


Ian Bibby (above) is a rider who has raced up mountains with the likes of Valverde and is one of the riders that NFTO will look to for this stage. Afterwards he said he can only benefit from knowing the roads he’ll be racing.

“It’s going to be hard racing every day but I think we can hold our own. You’re either in the 11 descending or on the 28 climbing and it’s not like a smooth consistent power; it’s fighting the bike constantly”.

“There are so many climbs today, I can’t remember which one was a highlight and they all so steep. I’m definitely looking forward to it.”


Eddie Dunbar (above): Ireland’s first year senior, who is expected to make his senior UCI race debut in the Tour de Yorkshire, said after the stage recce it’s going to be an eventful day on the bike.

Eddie is built like a mountain goat and it’s that type of rider who is expected to be suited to the stage. “That’s the most climbing I have ever done in a day I’d say” he said afterwards. “The last twenty or thirty k were memorable for me and where I think the race will be won and lost there on that final climb”.

“I have really enjoyed the three days in Yorkshire and it’s been brilliant to see the course”.


Tom Barras (above): NFTO’s local boy for the recce was Tom who was riding the roads for the second time in a week and was the group’s tour guide. “It’s a tough stage from the start through some beautiful countryside” he explained. “It was easier doing the ride with the lads today as you get some shelter from the wind but not from the climbs”.

“I’d love to make the team for the race being a Yorkshire lad born and bred especially as the course goes through the village I grew up in.”

Asked to take a stab at how many climbs he had ridden over during the day, Tom says 20 to 25 with most of them unclassified and not even in the route book. “A lot of the climbs are also very open out of valleys and the wind today was from the north flat in your face most of the time.”


Finally, we spoke to James ‘Hank’ Lowsley Williams (above) who said he’s really enjoyed the three days looking at the route for the Tour de Yorkshire. “It’s been good to be with the boys on these roads and it’s going to be a hard old race. I don’t think we had a stage like this in the Tour of Britain”.

“I think it’s been pretty important before we get to the big races to spend time together as a team on the road so it’s been hard but fun.”

And that was that. After the riders had changed into dry warm clothes and tucked into their food bags, there was a well done team talk from team owner John Wood and more from manager Dave Povall.

We all then went our separate ways knowing that the next time we come back to Yorkshire, it was going to be very tough challenge for all the British teams.

Those British teams with climbers in them may well enjoy the Tour de Yorkshire but it isn’t just about being able to climb. It’s going to be about staying near the front as teams like Sky for example may well slice the peloton open like a can opener in the winds and because there is no recovery, it’s going to be a major test of a riders endurance.

The composition of the teams will be the next interesting reveal as the race gets closer. It’s going to be tough for the British riders with so few race days so far and none at the level they will be racing at in the Tour de Yorkshire.


Froomedog … can only be something from the 2014 Tour de France. This is on the road to Cragg Vale. The riders climb out of Ripponden, along the moors and then a long descent from Cragg Vale to Mytholmroyd.  This descent/ascent at Cragg Vale is claimed to be at the start of the longest continuous gradient in England – 968 feet over 5.5 miles. 

But as we have seen in the Tour of Britain, those that play it smart, will be in the mix and the event promises to be a great spectacle for viewers. The race perhaps isn’t going to see the crowds we saw at the Tour de France but with so many great vantage points, those that want to see a memorable bike race will be spoilt for choice for places to watch.

From day three, my favourite is Haworth. That place is such a lovely town full of character and its sad the race doesn’t go right into Otley as that is such a cycling mecca. The race will go down Birdcage walk, part of the famous Otley circuit race before it turns right up yet another bloody climb!

Where are you going to watch it from?


Otley – home to many a famous bike race including the Tour De France last year. This time the race skirts the edge of the town, along Birdcage Walk and then up another bloody climb


The view looking back at the reservoirs that abound around the village of Ripponden. A long climb with no descent for quite a few miles afterwards.


Team owner John Wood talks to the riders after the finish of the recce.


Haworth home to the Bronte sisters and Wuthering Heights – the race climbs though the village up a cobbled climb.


After the climb out of Ripponden, the riders past Blackstone Edge Reservoir. Think Eddie has spotted something in the water but what?


 The climb up Black Hill Road, a springboard to possible pull a small group away before the downhill run to the finish.


The bus driver, Tom Barras, indicates a right turn during the ride over the roads for stage 3 of the Tour de Yorkshire.

1. 322m Côte de Holmfirth (2.9km at 5.5%)
2. 336m Côte de Scapegoat Hill (2.2km at 8.3%)
3. 369m Côte de Hebden Bridge (4.1km at 5.5%)
4. 318m Côte de Goose Eye (1.3km at 10%)
5. 249m Côte de Cow and Calf (1.8km at 8%)
6. 232m Côte de Chevin (1.4 km at 10.3%)

Team Sky
Team Giant-Alpecin
BMC Racing Team
Team Lotto NL-Jumbo
IAM Cycling
Cult Energy Pro Cycling
Roompot Oranje Peloton
Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
Madison Genesis
JLT Condor
GB National Team

Send your results as well as club, team & event news here

Other Results on VeloUK (including reports containing results)

Other News on VeloUK

Tags: , ,