Serial Tour de France winner Chris Froome says Yorkshire and cycling go ‘hand in hand’ as he prepares to make his debut in the county’s annual race next month.
The most decorated British road cyclist of all time makes his long-awaited first appearance in the Tour de Yorkshire from May 2-5.
It marks the first time he has raced in the county since opening the defence of his first Tour de France title here in 2014, when the memorable Grand Depart weekend sparked the region’s boom in cycling.
The introduction of the annual Tour de Yorkshire followed in 2015, and later this year the county will host the UCI Road World Championships.
These events combined have thrust Yorkshire into the global cycling spotlight, and Froome for one is excited to be coming back as the race’s headline act.
“Having the Tour de France start in Yorkshire obviously got a lot of people out and got a lot of people really excited about cycling,” said Froome, in the official Tour de Yorkshire programme.
The knock-on effect that it had is just massive, to the extent where Yorkshire and cycling now go hand in hand.Chris Froome
“And the knock-on effect that it had is just massive, to the extent where Yorkshire and cycling now go hand in hand.”
Froome has had to wait for his Tour de Yorkshire debut due to its proximity to the Giro d’Italia, the first grand tour of the year which traditionally starts a week after the White Rose race finishes. But having won the Giro last year to complete the grand tour set, Froome can now concentrate on winning the four-day race that begins in Doncaster on Thursday, May 2, and finishes in Leeds on Sunday, May 5.
“My memories from racing in Yorkshire is of just being absolutely overwhelmed by everyone who came out to support – and just the magnitude of it,” said Froome, who will lead the challenge of Team INEOS – formerly Team Sky – in May.
“It was just overwhelming. But at the same time, the racing was really good. The terrain in Yorkshire, given how undulating it is and how savage some of the climbs are, make it such a unique challenge. The roads can also be twisty, it’s always up and down, so it makes for some interesting racing.”