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Mark Cavendish looking forward to racing in 2018 Tour de Yorkshire

Cavendish looking forward to racing in 2018 Tour de Yorkshire
By PA Sport

05/12/2017 at 14:54Updated 05/12/2017 at 18:13

Mark Cavendish revealed the combination of bumper crowds and stunning scenery made him want to ride the 2018 Tour de Yorkshire after he appeared at Tuesday's route announcement in Halifax.

Mark Cavendish revealed the combination of bumper crowds and stunning scenery made him want to ride the 2018 Tour de Yorkshire after he appeared at Tuesday's route announcement in Halifax.

The 32-year-old Manxman, winner of 30 Tour de France stages, was on hand to hear details of the expanded race, which will grow by one day to four for the men and two stages for the women when it takes place from May 3-6.

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Cavendish will have an eye on the 182-kilometre opening stage from Beverley to Doncaster, and the 184km stage three from Richmond to Scarborough, both of which promise to end in sprint finishes.

"Look at this," Cavendish said as he was mobbed by fans at Halifax's Piece Hall. "This is the race presentation, it's not even the race and there's a bigger crowd than we get for some races in Europe."

Yorkshire has rapidly made its mark in world cycling since hosting the 2014 Grand Depart of the Tour de France - when Cavendish crashed within sight of the finish line in his mother's hometown of Harrogate - and will host the Road World Championships in 2019.

That will only help attract riders to the Tour de Yorkshire to get a look around, but Cavendish said the race was already on his agenda and he would have taken part in 2017 but for illness.

"I know the roads, I've ridden here a lot," said Cavendish, who was watching at home as Dimension Data team-mate Serge Pauwels won the general classification in May.

"Yorkshire is a beautiful place. It's big but it's not that big in terms of what we do in cycling so I know most of the roads and I really like them."

As a sprinter, he may not feel that way on the second and fourth days of the race.

The 149km stage two from Barnsley to Leeds features the imposing Old Pool Bank outside Otley before a summit finish on the Cow and Calf above Ilkley.

Stage four, covering 189.5km from Halifax to Leeds, has a total of six categorised climbs, including Park Rash and Greenhow Hill.

The expanded women's race will use much of the route of the opening two stages, with a 132.5km stage from Beverley to Doncaster and a 124km stage from Barnsley to the same summit finish on the Cow and Calf.

Bingley's Annie Simpson, who races for the Drops team, said: "It's good to have two completely different stages.

"I know the Cow and Calf climb really well, I grew up around there and that's definitely going to be a spectacle for the race."

The Cow and Calf will provide the first summit finish in the race's short history, ticking off another ambition for Welcome to Yorkshire chief executive Sir Gary Verity.

"It's an iconic climb and an iconic piece of landscape in Yorkshire," he said. "Having a summit finish there will be very special indeed, and to have it there too for the women's race is fantastic."

The men's race will conclude on the Headrow in Leeds, the start line for the Tour de France in 2014.

Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme said: "There are so many good memories for me there, and to have the finish there on a Sunday, I can't imagine how many people will be there."

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