Tour de Yorkshire: Guide to the 2019 race featuring Chris Froome, Mark Cavendish and Lizzie Deignan

Tour de Yorkshire 2018
Hundreds lined Sutton Bank on the North York Moors during stage three of this year's race

The 2019 Tour de Yorkshire starts in Doncaster on Thursday and finishes on Sunday in Leeds.

The women's race lasts two days and starts in Barnsley on Friday, before finishing in Scarborough.

Here, BBC Sport takes a look at everything you need to know about the race in 2019.

The origins of the Tour de Yorkshire

This is the fifth edition of the race, which was organised after Yorkshire played an important role in the world's most famous cycling race, the Tour de France, by hosting the 2014 Grand Depart in Leeds.

The men's race originally lasted for three days, while the women contested a one-day race - but that changed in 2018 when an extra day was allocated to each event.

And more than two million spectators turned out to watch Belgium's Greg van Avermaet claim overall victory in the men's race last year, with American Megan Guarnier winning the women's title.

Tour de Yorkshire route
The men's four-day race takes place over 384 miles while the women's two-day race takes covers 164 miles

What is the 2019 route?

The 2019 route takes in 150 villages, towns and cities, with eight places selected as start and finish locations.

Stage one: The first stage is a 111-mile race from Doncaster to Selby containing one classified climb at Baggaby Hill and two intermediate sprints, the second of which arrives in Pocklington on a brisk approach towards the finish outside Selby Abbey.

Stage two: The women's race begins in Barnsley on the 82-mile stage, with the route incorporating the first of five new climbs in this year's event - the Cote de Lindley. The stage also takes in the same circuit around Harrogate that will be used at the 2019 UCI Road World Championships (22-29 September), before an expected bunch sprint finish in the market town of Bedale.

Stage three: On the penultimate stage for the men, the riders roll out of Bridlington towards the North York Moors National Park, and a 32-mile loop past Whitby that contains four of the five climbs on the 82-mile stage. The route then sweeps along the coastline to the traditional finish on Scarborough's North Shore, which marks the conclusion of the women's race.

Stage four: The final 109-mile stage starts in Halifax and takes in the cobbles at Haworth, before the real climbs begin on the outskirts of Keighley at the Cote de Goose Eye. The Cote de Barden Moore, Cote de Park rash, Cote de Greenhow Hill and the final categorised climb at Otley Chevin all follow, before the race sweeps into Leeds for a city-centre finish for the second successive year.

Who is riding?

Britain's Froome is the headline act in a race that also includes Olympic road race champion and the blue jersey winner in 2018 Van Avermaet.

Froome leads Team Ineos into its second event since Sky ended its decade-long commitment to the British team.

Cavendish will also compete after illness, heading the Dimension Data team, but German sprint rival Marcel Kittel pulled out from leading Swiss team Katusha Alpecin on Wednesday.

Van Avermaet is part of a strong CCC team - formerly known as the BMC racing team - which also contains 2017 Tour de Yorkshire champion Serge Pauwels of Belgium.

In the women's race, Deignan will be riding on familiar roads, given she was born in West Yorkshire.

And Dutch rider Annemiek van Vleuten, last year's winner of the Giro Rosa and La Course, is among the favourites.

A new dawn, a new controversy - Team Ineos

Team Sky formally became Team Ineos on Wednesday, having enjoyed unrivalled success with Sky's backing - winning eight Grand Tours.

But while this represents a new dawn - with chemicals firm Ineos, which is owned by Britain's richest man Sir Jim Ratcliffe, confirming its takeover of the team in March - it has also sparked new controversy.

The news conference to launch the team, held by Ratcliffe and principal Sir Dave Brailsford, was at a secret location in order to prevent the attendance of protesters.

Ineos has licences to conduct fracking at several locations across Yorkshire.

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