Yorkshire Gears Up For World Cycling Championships
I f you haven’t already heard, this month Yorkshire will host the 2019 UCI Road World Championships and we are predicting a bit of a party.
It is the first time Great Britain has hosted the event since 1982 and over nine days, more than 1,000 of the world’s top cyclists will compete in the county in a series of races designed to really test their mettle.
All the events will end in Harrogate and proceedings will get underway with an opening ceremony on the evening of September 21st in the Fan Zone on The Stray which is set to be the focus of the championships.
UCI President David Lappartient will be jetting in from Switzerland to declare the Championships officially open along with Yorkshire 2019 CEO Andy Hindley and British Cycling CEO Julie Harrington.
A host of entertainment is also been laid on to add to the celebrations and will continue through the week with performances from the likes of Jarvis Cocker and the Pigeon Detectives.
Yorkshire 2019 CEO Andy Hindley said: “Hosting the UCI Road World Championships is a once-in-a-generation event, so we felt it only fitting that we had an opening ceremony. We’re thrilled to have the UCI President David Lappartient in attendance to officially get things going and have laid on some great entertainment which will add to the party atmosphere.
“Of course, the racing will have already got going earlier that day with the Yorkshire 2019 Para-Cycling International, so it’s much a celebration of that as well as the start of the Championships proper.”
This is the first time a para-cycling event has ever been organised alongside the UCI Road World Championships.
It will be one of the highest-profile para-cycling competitions ever held and include 26 races in total, with men’s and women’s contests taking place across all four para-cycling classifications. Setting off from Beverley, Tadcaster and Wetherby, all races will finish in Harrogate and the results will count towards qualification for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
If you want to get involved, check out our guide to both the races and the best viewing spots.
2019 UCI Road World Championships, September 22nd to 29th, worlds.yorkshire.com
Harrogate Time Trials
The UCI Road World Championships promises to get off to an exciting start with a series of time trials focused on Harrogate. Running over two days, the competitors will be charged with completing a set number of circuits of the town centre. The loops heads out of Harrogate towards RHS Garden Harlow Carr and into the countryside. There are a series of sharp climbs before it returns via Valley Gardens and the Duchy estate to Parliament Street.
Sunday, September 22nd: Team Time Trial Mixed Relay
Number of laps: Two
Monday, September 23rd: Women Junior Individual Time Trial
Number of laps: One
Monday, September 23rd: Men Junior Individual Time Trial
Number of laps: Two
Men U23 Individual Time Trial: Tuesday, September 24th
Start: Ripon 10.10am
Finish: Harrogate 12.30pm
With the first 12km of the route relatively flat the riders will be able to build up a head of steam before arriving in Harrogate where they will complete two laps of the tricky circuit and an energy sapping uphill sprint to the finish.
Women Elite Individual Time Trial: Tuesday, September 24th
Start: Ripon 14.40pm
Finish: Harrogate; 16.45pm
The women’s time trial follows the exact same route as the men’s.
Men Elite Individual Time Trial: Wednesday, September 25th
Start: Northallerton 13.10pm
Finish: Harrogate: 6.04pm
This is likely to be a windy one at the start as the cyclists face crosswinds coming out of Northallerton. The next real test will be a sharp ascent as they come into Masham, but anyone who falls off the pace here will have the opportunity to catch up on the fast section which follows. The final section is gruelling and the sprint up Parliament Street will show those who have left something in reserve.
Men Junior Road Race: Thursday, September 26th
Start: Richmond 12.10pm
Finish: Harrogate 15.45pm
It won’t be long before the riders are feeling the burn, as they tackle the first major climb at Kidstones. That ascent is followed by a relatively flat section as they approach Burnsall, but they will need to have conserved enough energy to take on another gruelling ascent between Beamsley and Blubberhouses. Three laps of Harrogate will then decide the winner.
Women Junior Road Race: Friday, September 27th
Start: Doncaster 8.40pm
Finish: Harrogate 11.20am
The start of this route is pretty exposed and depending on the conditions, riders may have to battle strong winds. Fatigue is also likely to play a factor on the long drag back to the finishing line and we’re expecting to the lead to change hands a number of times before the winner is declared.
Men U23 Road Race: Friday, September 27th
Start: Doncaster 14.10pm
Finish: Harrogate 19.10pm
The first part of this race is pretty flat, but the riders won’t be able to rest on their laurels as they will know the second half is altogether more gruelling. The main climb of the day is the muscle crunching Greenhow Hill which has an average gradient of 8% over almost 3km. The route drops back into Harrogate and the riders will have one last push as they take on three laps of the town centre circuit.
Women Elite Road Race: Saturday, September 28th
Start: Bradford: 11.40am
Finish: Harrogate 16.00pm
Leaving Bradford, the peloton will head north and climb into the Yorkshire Dales. At the height of the ascent they will then turn south towards Harrogate where the crowds will be able to watch the riders taking on three laps of the technically challenging circuit.
Men Elite Road Race: Sunday, September 29th
Start: Leeds 8.40am
Finish: Harrogate 15.40pm
After a relatively gentle route into the Dales, the riders will be tested on three climbs which comes one after another. If that wasn’t enough when they finally reach Harrogate they will need to complete seven tough circuits of the town with the victor being presented with the famous rainbow jersey.
Where to watch…
If the Grand Depart and the annual Tour de Yorkshire is anything to go by, the crowds for the UCI Road World Championships are going to be big. That’s great for creating a great atmosphere at every event, but it can make securing a prime spectator seat a little tricky. The advice is to get there early and below are the best spots to head to for at each race.
The Harrogate Circuit – Team Time Trial Mixed Relay (September 22nd), Women Junior Individual Time Trial (September 23rd), Men Junior Individual Time Trial (September 23rd)
Harrogate Fan Zone: If you are a bit of a novice when it comes to cycling or are planning to take the family to watch the races, the Fan Zone on The Stray is the place to go. Close to Weetons Food Hall this is a great central location, near to the start and finish line, and there will be lots going on to keep everyone entertained.
Crescent Gardens: If you want to see the races coming to their climax, this is the place to be. Here you should be able to see the cyclists whizz past as they head down towards the finishing straight. If you are planning to enjoy the event as part of big group of friends, this is the ideal spot to watch as there should be plenty of space.
Ripon to Harrogate – Men U23 and Elite Women ITT (September 24th)
Ripon: This historic North Yorkshire town will be the starting point for both races and you will be able to watch them set off in the shadow the imposing cathedral from the market square. Alternatively, head to the wide pathways near New Park and Quarry Moor Nature reserve just outside the town itself.
Ripley: As the action hots up and the race for podium places intensifies, head to Ripley. Roughly at the halfway point, the town centre itself will be the best place to catch the event.
Harrogate: All the races will be screened live in the Harrogate Fan Zone and as the lead cyclists near the finishing line, you can walk out to see who claims first place.
North Allerton to Harrogate – Elite Men Time Trial (September 25th)
North Allerton: Before they set out on this gruelling 54km course, there will be a chance to see the elite men up close in the heart of historic North Allerton.
Bedale: This Dales town knows a thing or two about staging a cycling event having recently been a host for the Tour de Yorkshire. The wide central street makes it the perfect viewing spot, plus it’s just a stone’s throw from the M1 so getting there shouldn’t be a problem.
Masham: The cyclists might be feeling the strain as they arrive in Masham, but the town is home to a number of breweries so it is a great spot for spectators who may want to combine the event with a little refreshment.
Ripley: They will again be hanging out the bunting in Ripley and if you decide to head here, make the day of it by exploring the nearby castle.
Harrogate: The Fan Zone will be the place to be.
Richmond to Harrogate – Junior Men Road Race (September 26th)
Richmond: The cobbled market square draws tourists throughout the year and while it’s likely to be busy at the start, if you get there early you should be guaranteed a good viewing spot.
Kidstones: While this might not be the steepest climb the cyclists have ever faced, the unrelenting gradient is still pretty gruelling.
Harrogate: It’s guaranteed to be an exciting finish as the competitors complete three laps of the city centre before finally crossing the finishing line.
Burnsall: There are few more picturesque spots along the River Wharfe and if the weather holds, take a picnic and enjoy a few refreshments in the Red Lion pub before the cyclists arrive.
Bolton Abbey: If you are coming by car, the estate has plenty of parking and it should also provide a picturesque backdrop for those wanting to capture the action on camera.
Doncaster to Harrogate – Junior Women Road Race and U23 Men Road Race (September 27th)
Doncaster: The action moves to South Yorkshire. There should be a great atmosphere in the town centre and just a short hop from the A1, it benefits from good transport links too.
Thorne: Another good option is this market town. It is hosting events and activities throughout the day, so even once the cyclists have passed through you will be kept entertained.
Harrogate: Head to The Stray where you will be able to see the front riders doing battle for medal places.
Bradford to Harrogate – Elite Women Road Race (September 28th)
Bradford: With excellent road, rail and public transport links this West Yorkshire city is an easy destination to get to for the start of the race.
Otley: As the home of champion cyclist Lizzie Deignan, Otley likes to make the most of homegrown talent, so expect a wealth of entertainment before and after the riders pass through.
Masham: Close to the A1, this is a great location to see the riders as they approach the final stretch of the race which leads back to Harrogate.
Leeds to Harrogate – Elite Men Road Race (September 29th)
Leeds: It should be easy to secure a good spot at Millennium Square to see the final event of the Championships. Alternatively, head to Woodhouse Lane, near the university, to see them head out on the 149.4km route.
Ilkley: Home to one of the country’s biggest cycling clubs, the streets will be thick with crowds and there will a great atmosphere as the riders make their way under the shadow of the Cow and Calf.
Kettlewell, Aysgarth and Hawes: If it’s some beautiful scenery your looking for, take your pick from this trio of picturesque Dales villages.
Harrogate: The final leg of the race involves seven laps of the town centre. As the grand finale you may need to bag a spot early, but any wait will be guaranteed to be worth it.