NSPCC Tour of Yorkshire, 22nd July – “Epic”, “Stunning”, “Wow, what a ride!” “Best time I’ve had on a bike” – just some of the words heard as riders crossed the finish line of the inaugural NSPCC Tour of Yorkshire this weekend.
Two days and 180 miles of riding, battling wind and rain on Stage 1 and some of the toughest gradients the county has to offer on Stage 2. The NSPCC Tour of Yorkshire was certainly a challenge, but the riders, aided by a huge supporting entourage of Ride managers, domestiques, soigneurs, motorbike outriders, mechanics, masseurs and first aiders, made the weekend a roaring success.
Under darkening skies, 150 entrants rolled out on Saturday morning from the impressive York Sport Village. Ninety miles each day was what lay ahead through stunning scenery and over some of the same roads ridden by Le Tour just two weeks previously.
Experienced event manager James Kemp (Prudential RideLondon, Le Tour de France, Freecycle) designed the route and it did not disappoint.
As in the first event in the Tour of England Series, the NSPCC Tour of the South East, riders were split into four fully supported speed-based groups, riding as unique “sportive bubbles” out on the road. Ride managers and domestiques led the groups behind motorbike outriders and lead vehicles who ensured a safe and fast passage through road junctions and around the countryside.
Behind the riders were team cars laden with spare bikes provided by Wilier and wheels to make sure that riders were quickly back on the road after any mechanical issue, and the “bubble” was then completed by medical support ready for every eventuality.
Along the route the riders were welcomed by several Hub stops where they could refuel and rehydrate, while any mechanical issues were dealt with by the CTC’s Dr Bike mechanics.
The riders were well looked after over the weekend, but they still had the hard task of conquering the route, and this included the timed climbs of Hanging Grimston and Boltby Bank – both of which they tackled individually in a race for the title of King and Queen of the Mountain. Everyone embraced the challenge and gave their all, even if this meant getting off to push on Sunday’s steepest gradients.
For their efforts they were rewarded with the Yellow Jersey Dinner on the Saturday evening with special guest speaker, Tour de France legend Barry Hoban, while on Sunday the riders were greeted with medals, bubbly, hugs and cheers as they crossed the finish line on the circuit at York Sport Village.
The Yellow Jersey Dinner included a delicious three-course meal to top up energy levels, and also provided participants with the chance to relax and enjoy the company of their fellow riders, sharing stories from the saddle and making new friends along the way.
The evening featured a talk with one of England’s best ever cyclists – Barry Hoban, winner of the most Tour de France stage wins by an English rider. Barry handed out the evening’s awards and shared stories of his riding history to inspire everyone for the final day’s challenge.
“We’re thrilled with the success of this first NSPCC Tour of Yorkshire,” said Ride2Raise Director Richard King. “The riders were heroes, tackling some tough conditions and even tougher gradients. But the spirit and camaraderie that make group riding so special, plus support from our professional team, meant they could achieve their goals. We can’t wait for next year!”
Dates for your diary – the 2015 Tour of the South East will be held over the weekend of 6-7 June, and the Tour of Yorkshire on 18-19 July.
Partners of the NSPCC Tour of Yorkshire include the NSPCC, Ride2Raise, British Cycling, Ginger & French, Wilier, Caroline Middleton Sports Massage, HÜMA Chai energy gels, 9bar and FBR.
Follow NSPCC Tour of England on Twitter and Facebook.