Tour de Yorkshire host towns unveiled

Tour de Yorkshire cyclists in the Yorkshire Dales Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Cyclists in this year's race passed through the Yorkshire Dales near Harrogate - one of the towns which will host next year's event

The six towns that will host start and finish events during the 2017 Tour de Yorkshire cycle race have been named.

Racing will begin or end in Bradford, Bridlington, Harrogate, Scarborough, Sheffield and Tadcaster in the three-day event from 28-30 April next year.

Sir Gary Verity, chief executive of race organisers Welcome to Yorkshire, said: "I'm delighted the race will visit all four corners of the county."

This year's Tour de Yorkshire attracted about two million spectators.

An estimated 1.5 million lined the roads for the inaugural Tour de Yorkshire in 2015 which followed in the slipstream of the county's successful Tour de France Grand Depart event in 2014.

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Frenchman Thomas Voeckler won this year's event, snatching victory in a sprint finish on the final stage in Scarborough.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Tour de Yorkshire 2016 overall winner Thomas Voeckler celebrated at the end of the third stage in Scarborough

The county's reputation as a top global cycling venue was cemented earlier this month with the news that it will host the 2019 Road World Championships - the first time the race will have come to Britain in 37 years.

"The world's best cyclists will be using the 2017 Tour de Yorkshire as a first dress rehearsal for that and we're planning a course that will challenge and impress them in equal measure," said Sir Gary.

The leader of North Yorkshire County Council, Carl Les, said: "As we know these events have strengthened the county's economy and given a huge boost for our tourism industries.

"This race will benefit all the host towns and their surrounding areas, particularly giving Tadcaster a boost in its recovery from the devastating floods of last December.

"It will be a great opportunity to see pictures of the rebuilt Tadcaster Bridge in the television coverage."

Scarborough Council leader Derek Bastiman said: "The race organisers obviously can't get enough of the Yorkshire coast with both Scarborough and our neighbours Bridlington featuring in the start-finish line up. This level of recognition is brilliant for our part of the county."

The full 2017 race route - including exact start and finish locations and the distance and profile of the race - will be unveiled in December.

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