Team first for Harry Tanfield in Tour de Yorkshire

A YEAR ago Harry Tanfield made Tour de Yorkshire history in Doncaster.

Harry Tanfield celebrates winning a stage in last year's Tour de Yorkshire.

The North Yorkshire rider will be back there on Friday at the start of the latest edition, but this time just getting through the four days is his main objective.

Tanfield, from Great Ayton, became the first Yorkshireman to win a leg of the county’s own race in 2018 when he outfoxed the sprinters, including Tour de France legend Mark Cavendish, to lead home a breakaway group who had been out in front for most of stage one.

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That ride helped secure a move to the Katusha-Alpecin team who compete at World Tour level, cycling’s equivalent of the Premier League.

But while Tanfield went into last year’s Tour de Yorkshire in good form, after a silver medal performance in the Commonwealth Games time trial, he admits he is lacking confidence now.

“It will be different this year, I have just got to try and get round and finish it as best I can,” said the 24-year-old who is among 15 Yorkshire-based riders poised to start Friday’s 182.5km dash from Doncaster to Selby.

“I will take it as it is. I’ve not really got any expectations.

“I will just do what I can each day and do my job for the team and see how it goes.”

Tanfield, who wore a leader’s jersey on the final three stages last year, summarised riding for a World Tour team in one word: “Hard.”

He said: “It is pretty tough, you go into races this year with different objectives now.”

While for Katusha-Alpecin that will include competing in the sprints, on the climbs and for the general classification, 
Tanfield is gearing up to play the role of domestique, one of the riders who fetches and carries for the squad’s leading hopes, protects them from the wind and generally puts team interests ahead of personal glory.

“I have no confidence at the moment so I will just take it as it is and try and survive it,” he admitted.

“I have no expectations, I know my level is pretty poor.

“I don’t expect anything [other than to] make up the numbers.

“I guess I see it a bit differently to last year, I had confidence and was a bit more up for it.”

Tanfield attributed his lack of belief to “previous races and training in general”.

He said: “My numbers haven’t been too good, I’ve not been quite up to scratch with it.

“I’ll just hope for the best and see what happens.”

There is one extra incentive for Tanfield this year, five months out from the UCI Road World Championships that will be based in Harrogate and include a circuit that features on the Tour de Yorkshire’s second stage.

“I am more targeting towards that,” he added.

“I know I am not going to do anything now, so I am looking at that. The Worlds are going to be massive and the TT [time trial] is pretty close to me as well, so that will be cool.”