Tour de Yorkshire: Parallel lines suit Dame Sarah Storey

BRITAIN’S most successful female paralympian Dame Sarah Storey is well placed to judge how far the ASDA Women’s Tour de Yorkshire has come in just five years.

Storey rode in the first edition, a circuit chase around York in 2015, and has seen the event grow into a two-day stage race attracting most of the world’s top teams.

The 41-year-old will line up in Barnsley today with her own squad Storey Racing ahead of a 132km dash to Bedale. Stage two tomorrow begins in Bridlington and ends on Scarborough seafront.

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The women’s race will cover exactly the same route as stages two and three of the men’s race and Storey regards that as a major step forward for the sport. She said: “It is two days not four, but we are building. That was always the plan, to build the women’s race up alongside the men’s race. We see that equality in the stages this year and just to see the standard of the field that’s come here is brilliant.”

Building the sport: Dame Sarah Storey ahead of the women's race. Picture: Tony Johnson.

Tomorrow’s decisive stage is particularly tough, including five categorised climbs. Storey observed: “It is the hardest race they’ve given us in Yorkshire so I think everyone’s excited to get stuck in.

“I have recced both routes so I know what’s coming and to have a finish in Scarborough, on the Saturday, hopefully the crowds will be big and we are all anticipating a fantastic finale.”

Storey described the weekend finish, which will maximise the spectator turnout for the women’s event, as “brilliant”.

She said: “It gives us that added impetus. The women’s racing is always hard and really aggressive. We have got 14 of the top teams in the world, which makes the standard even higher, so it is going to be really exciting.”