The Tour de Yorkshire has announced the 2018 race route, so we got Madison Genesis rider Matt Holmes – who finished fifth overall in 2017 – to make his predictions.
From May 3-6, Yorkshire will again be transformed into a county obsessed with the race, as it passes through Beverley, Doncaster, Barnsley, Ilkley, Richmond, Scarborough, Halifax and Leeds, covering over 700-kilometres of road lined by millions of spectators.
The race – which expands from three to four days in 2018 – gives organisers the opportunity to diversify their offering to riders, with something for sprinters, a summit finish on day two and the now notorious hilly final day.
The parcours have served Madison Genesis well to date; the team have competed in all three editions and made their mark each year.
In 2015, Erick Rowsell finished eighth overall and best British rider; in 2016 Tom Stewart placed 11th overall and best British-based rider, and in 2017 Matt Holmes rode to fifth on general classification, alongside World Tour opposition.
Riding with Madison Genesis again in 2018, we got Matt’s thoughts on the race, the route and where he’s pick to make the race-winning move.
The Tour de Yorkshire is a major target for the team each year and after finishing fifth this year, it will be a personal objective for me next season.
It’s very important because it’s a great platform to show yourself and your sponsors to millions of spectators, both on the roadside and watching at home on TV.The Tour de Yorkshire climbs always tend to suit my riding style and 2018 is no exception.
I know most of the climbs already from training in the area.The addition of a fourth day of racing will make it more exciting to watch. Teams will find it very hard to control, as Yorkshire provides a perfect backdrop for another spectacular race.
Thursday, 3 May 2018
Beverley to Doncaster
Stage distance: 182km
KOMs: Baggaby Hill
Sprints: Pocklington, Howden
Stage type: Sprint
A stage built for a breakaway on undulating roads, before a flat and fast run-in to Doncaster after 182-kilometres of racing.
Domestic riders will pay particular attention to the single king of the mountains and two sprint opportunities along the way; both presenting excellent opportunities for a podium visit on day one.
Friday, 4 May 2018
Barnsley to Ilkley
Stage distance: 149km
KOMs: Blacker Hill, Old Pool Bank, Cow and Calf
Sprints; Swinton, Scholes
Stage type: Climbers or puncheurs
A summit finish in Yorkshire! Stage two will favour the climbers and the most powerful, as the race finishes atop the Cow and Calf.
An extra day has allowed the organisers to deliver a stage that will excite, while shaping rather than defining the general classification.
The climb featured on stage one of the very first Tour de Yorkshire and drew huge crowds back in 2015, and will be sure to repeat that spectacle as Ilkley cements itself as one of Britain’s iconic cycling towns.
This is the stage I'm mostly looking forward to because of the short, sharp hilltop finish. I think this stage could decide the overall winner. If somebody can get a small gap in the final steep metres of the climb that could be enough to win the whole race.
Saturday, 5 May 2018
Richmond to Scarborough
Stage distance: 184km
KOMs: Sutton Bank, Silpho
Sprints: Morton on Swale, Pickering
Stage type: Sprint, breakaway
Perhaps the most unpredictable stage of the 2018 edition, much will depend upon how much energy was expended on stage two.
A fast downhill start, followed by 155-kilometres of heavy, undulating roads all the way into Scarborough will put the sprint trains to the test – but they will be determined to make their mark again.
Sunday, 6 May 2018
Halifax to Leeds
Stage distance: 189.5km
KOMs: Hebden Bridge, Goose Eye, Barden Moor, Park Rash, Greenhow Hill, Otley Chevin
Sprints: Kilnsey, Arthington
Stage type: Selective, breakaway
With six categorised climbs, the final stage of the 2018 Tour de Yorkshire will provide a fitting finale.
On closer inspection however, the race will be finely balanced. With four of the six climbs – including the fearsome Park Rash – coming in the opening 90-kilometres an aggressive or conservative approach will make or break the race.
Just two categorised ascents will remain on the second half of the day and a distance of 25-kilometres between Greenhow Hill and Otley Chevin may be enough to keep a group of 30-50 riders together all the way into Leeds.
I don’t really know how hard this stage will be – it could be a group sprint or maybe there will be a solo winner – I need to go and have a look to get a better idea!
Witht the 2018 route for the Tour de Yorkshire confirmed, Madison Genesis aims to secure participation in the event which offers several places to British-based continental teams.