It is that time of the cycling calendar, the best race in the UK graces our fine (pothole ridden) roads and we get to watch our cycling heroes race within a bike ride from our homes. I love the Tour de Yorkshire!
The first stage of 2016 was from Beverley to Settle, 185km long and would go though Tadcaster meaning from York there was plenty of opportunity to spectate nearby. I decided upon Cawood – a lovely village just outside of Selby and only 10 miles to cycle.
I have been checking the weather forecast religiously all week but unfortunately the promises of 4ºC, wind and rain hadn’t altered as Friday loomed so on with the full winter kit and off I went.
My mate Farny joined me as we set off from York. We made good time but the headwind made it tough going, for me anyway. As we made our way from Riccall to Cawood the wind was immense. It just didn’t let up. The open landscape let the wind continually batter us which made it even more impressive when watching the Pro’s travelling along the same roads doing about 25mph to our 13mph!
Riding into Cawood me and Farny found a pub with a decent beer garden overlooking the bridge in the village. It would provide a good place to watch from. With beers in hand we waited.
First up came the rain. It poured down. Then came the break. They had 4 minutes on the peloton which was great going considering they had gained that margin in a mighty headwind.
Forgive my ignorance but I have no idea who was in the break. As I write I have still not watched the stage back. Then came the main group (see header photo). As always is the case when the weather is bad it’s hard to pick out individual riders but I managed to spot Pete Kennough driving Sky on at the front but it was;t until I got home and checked my photos that I spotted a few other British riders.
I think this one is Russ Downing due to the beard but I may be wrong!
I’m almost certain this is Sir Brad. You can spot the black bike and the familiar nose underneath that aero helmet to keep the rain out. It was a shame that he abandoned today without completing the stage but he says he didn’t want to risk a crash with Rio coming up. If that was the case surely he shouldn’t have entered but then again he’ll be under massive pressure to take the start as his name alone adds kudos to the race.
And that was that. Cold legs and body went back onto the bike and enjoyed a short tailwind before hitting a headwind for the last 7 miles back to York. It was the hardest 30 mile ride I have ever done so I doth my cap to the riders today who completed the 115 miles to Settle.
Not going to Stage 2 but will be on Sutton Bank for Stage 3. See you there!