According to Lonely Planet’s 2014 Best in Travel list, Yorkshire is the third best region in the world. Its Dales and Moors have become a playground for Britain’s best athletes and, with the return of the world best riders for top quality bike racing, we take a look at the best five climbs in this year’s Tour de Yorkshire.
1. Conisbrough Castle
0.5km at 6.5%
The Conisbrough Castle climb features towards the stage finish in Doncaster on day two of the race. Often used as a wedding venue, the romantic castle has stunning views over Conisbrough, inspired Sir Walter Scott's Ivanhoe, and still fires the imagination today. The narrow climb loops round Conisbrough, enabling you to see the castle from all sides as well as its immaculate lawns.
Ride it: turn right from Doncaster Road onto Low Road and travel anti-clockwise around the castle, turning left onto Dale Road and left again rejoining Low Road.
2. Blakey Ridge
4.8km at 4.5%
Flat just isn’t in the vocabulary of the North York Moors; there isn’t an inch of it anywhere. Blakey Ridge is a climb that is long and gains height sharply at the start, reaching nearly 10%. Once over the steepest part, there is a temporary dip down but on top it's exposed and the wind offers no respite. In summer, heather blooms in billowing drifts of purple haze. Whilst the road is heavy and gruelling, the views are most definitely worth it.
Ride it: turn left from A170 at Kirby Mills onto Blakey Road and continue north towards Hutton-le-Hole village where the climb begins.
3. Greenhow Hill
2.8km at 8.6%
Double ramped and double trouble, Greenhow Hill is long and placed towards the end of stage one. At four kilometres it is sure to be a field splitter. Leg stinging 20% ramps are marked by a road sign warning drivers to choose a low gear. After the ramps it's a long grind to the top. You’ll have the iconic dry stone walls for company all the way to Greenhow, a former mining village, which marks the summit.
Ride it: from the village of Pately Bridge continue west on Red Brae Bank (B6265) and climb to the village of Greenhow.
4. Côte de Grosmont
2.2km at 10.8%
Unlike the Grosmont climb used in the Tour de France grand depart, this climb – found on stage three – continues onto Black Brow on top of Sleights Moor, extending the climb from 400m to 2.2km of pain. Wild and windswept, the road rises in desolate splendour amongst three-quarters of all the world’s heather moorland. It is tough to find a rhythm on these ancient roadways as the ascent switches between 10%, 15% and 20%.
Ride it: from the village of Glaisdale travelling east on Carr Lane, continue under the railway bridge and onto Egton Lane, turn right and left onto Front St where the climbing starts, at a fork continue to the right on Fair Head Lane.
5. Côte de Robin Hood Bay
1.5km at 10.3%
This is one killer climb and why it’s in at the top spot on our list. Once at the summit, you hit the mother of all panoramas. Down below is the picturesque fishing village of Robin Hood’s Bay, a jumble of red-roofed houses, and to your left and right stunning Yorkshire coastline. Trouble is you need to tackle the mile long ascent at a lung busting 10% average to get up there. You’ll be lucky if you don’t have strong coastal winds to battle, too.
Ride it: from Station Road in Robin Hood Bay, turn right away from the seafront onto Thorpe Lane where the climbing will start immediately.
About the Tour de Yorkshire
The 2016 race route will again feature three stages. The route looks to favour the sprinters on days one and two, but stage three should see the climbers come to the front and decide the overall GC on the way to the final finish line in Scarborough.
Stage two will also be the route of the women’s race. This will take place in the morning before the men’s, using the same route, sprints and climbs.
JLT Condor presented by Mavic have again been selected to race the Tour de Yorkshire. In the 2015 edition, JLT Condor rider, Richard Handley, finished 10th overall, with JLT Condor the only domestic team to have riders placed in the top 10 on each stage.