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Elite men's road race

Kilnsey Crag
Kilnsey Crag

The elite men's road race at the 2019 UCI road World Championships in Yorkshire starts in Leeds and finishes in Harrogate. It's 284.5km, and includes seven laps of the Harrogate circuit.

The route takes in cycling hotspots Otley and Ilkley, then heads via Addingham and Skipton into the Yorkshire Dales. In the Dales, the parcours is the same as that of Stage 1 of the Tour de France 2014. It goes to Kilnsey, Kettlewell, the Côte de Cray (Kidstones), Aysgarth, Hawes, Côte de Buttertubs, Reeth, and the Côte de Grinton Moor. The run back to Harrogate is via Leyburn, Middleham, Masham, West Tanfield, North Stainley, Ripon, and Ripley.

Descent from Buttertubs
Descent from Buttertubs into Swaledale

The riders will have done just short of 180km when they arrive in Harrogate. The Harrogate circuit is up Otley Road to Beckwithshaw, right to the Jubilee roundabout, down Penny Pot Lane to Oak Beck, steeply up on the other side, then down Harlow Moor Drive alongside the Valley Gardens to the Royal Pump Rooms. From there, it goes up the other side of the Valley Gardens, then takes Hereford Road and Kent Road back to the A61 Ripon Road. After a detour along Swan Road and Crescent Road, it's up Parliament Street to West Park, and the start/finish point of the circuit.

As during the Tour de France, the finish line will be on West Park, roughly in front of Cathcart House and the United Reform church.

Elite men's road race: facts, figures, and map

Route of elite men's road race, UCI road World Championships 2019
Map of the route of the elite men's road race, © Welcome to Yorkshire. (See full-size map)

See also a Google map of the race route.

Race details - UCI 2019 elite men's road race
Date Sunday 28th September 2019
Event classification Road race
Distance 284.5km (route plus 7 circuits)
Climbs Cray (Kidstones pass)
Buttertubs
Grinton Moor

The official stage profile for the elite men's road race:

Profile of elite men's road race, UCI 2019
Profile of elite men's road race, © Welcome to Yorkshire

Elite men's road race: timings

Timings to follow.

Elite men's road race: the route

Elite men's road race: the start in Leeds

Leeds City Museum
Leeds City Museum

The elite men's road race starts in Leeds, at the Leeds City museum, Millenium Square. This is the start of the neutralised section, rather than the racing, so it's a procession at a reduced pace.

The riders make their way to the Headrow, then they go up to Woodhouse (Hyde Park/Woodhouse Moor), and take the A660 Headingley Lane to Headingley.

After passing Leeds Beckett University, the route crosses the Ring Road. It forks left just after the Ring Road junction, on Otley Old Road to Cookridge. The flag goes down and the racing starts at the northern edge of Cookridge.

Elite men's road race: Leeds to Skipton

View from Otley Chevin
View from Otley Chevin

From the outskirts of Cookridge, the climbing starts straight away. It's only a modest amount - from 147m up to 233m on top of the Chevin. East Chevin Road drops steeply down to Otley.

Market Place, Otley
Market Place, Otley

The race takes Gay Lane, Bondgate, and Kirkgate into the centre of Otley (the Black Horse junction), before heading out (Westgate then Ilkley Road) to the A660 Ilkley Road. The A660 follows the river Wharfe to Burley-in-Wharfedale, then the riders take the A65 on towards Ilkley.

Ilkley from Ilkley Moor
Ilkley from Ilkley Moor

The race leaves Ilkley on the A65, but diverts off it to go through the centre of Addingham.

Druggist Lane, Addingham
Druggist Lane, Addingham

After Bracken Ghyll golf club, the riders rejoin the A65, passing Chelker reservoir. A little further on, a left fork on the A6069 leads to Skipton High Street.

Skipton Free Library
Skipton Free Library

Elite men's road race: Skipton to Kettlewell

Skipton church
Skipton church

At the top of Skipton High Street, the riders turn left in front of the church, to cross Mill Bridge, and leave town on the B6265 Raikes Road.

They pass through the hamlet of Rylstone, then continue to Cracoe (only slightly larger, but known for the Cracoe Reef Knolls). The next village is Threshfield, which is almost joined to Grassington, but on the other side of the Wharfe.

Beyond Threshfield, the race route follows the Wharfe upstream. There are views across the river to Grass Wood. A mile or two later, the riders pass under Kilnsey Crag (see main photo at the top of the page). Then after crossing the river Skirfare near its confluence with the Wharfe, they arrive at Kettlewell.

Bridge in Kettlewell
Bridge in Kettlewell

Elite men's road race: Kettlewell to Hawes

Still following the Wharfe upstream, the riders pass Starbotton, and reach Buckden.

Buckden Village Stores at dawn
Buckden Village Stores

After Buckden, the riders must eschew the left fork to Langstrothdale, lovely though it is, and take the right fork next to Cray Gill. This is the start of the Cray climb.

There's plenty of interest on the way up, including the White Lion in the hamlet of Cray, and a number of picturesque waterfalls. After crossing the bridge over the stream, there's one nearly-hairpin bend. Then it's on up past Cow Pasture to Kidstones Pass, at 419m.

I'm sure there are places in the world which are transformed by rapid development in the space of 4 or 5 years. Luckily, at Cray/Kidstones, not much has changed since I made this video of the climb before the 2014 Tour de France:

It's always misty when I go up to Kidstones, but I have been able to see the sign pointing to the byway to Stalling Busk, near Semer Water.

Top of Cray climb
Top of Cray climb

The descent is quite steep at first. It's a slope which will be a test for the junior men, who climb Kidstones from the other side.

House in Bishopdale
House in Bishopdale, with butterfly artwork

This valley is Bishopdale. After the initial steep descent, the gradient eases. The riders will nevertheless need to remain alert, notably just after passing Ribba Hall, when there's a narrow bridge over Bishopdale Beck, with a sharp turn off the bridge.

Near Newbiggin, there's a pub with clear, no-nonsense signage.

Street Head Inn, Bishopdale
Street Head Inn, Bishopdale

After passing West Burton, the road in Bishopdale (the B6160) meets the A684. Here it's a sharp left turn, and soon after there's a bridge over Bishopdale Beck, again with a bend off the bridge. Then it's up the hill to Aysgarth.

The A684 now follows the river Ure upstream. This is Wensleydale (a valley not named after its river). It's a rolling road, with good views across to the other side of the Ure. The road passes a characterful pub at Worton.

Pub, Worton
Pub, Worton

Then it's on to Bainbridge. There was a Roman fort on the little hill to your right just as you arrive in Bainbridge. As you cross the river Bain at the entrance to the village, look out for an Archimedes screw to your left.

Bainbridge
Bainbridge

On to Hawes.

Hawes
View of Hawes

Buttertubs and Swaledale

Climb of Buttertubs
Buttertubs climb

Buttertubs climb

View of Cliff Beck from Buttertubs
View of Cliff Beck, from Buttertubs

There's a mile or two of descent off Buttertubs, and the route joins Swaledale near Muker.

Muker, Swaledale
Muker

Grinton Moor to Leyburn

Grinton Moor climb

Leyburn to Ripon

Ripon to Harrogate

Elite men's road race: the finishing circuit

The riders will have done just short of 180km when they arrive in Harrogate. The Harrogate circuit is up Otley Road to Beckwithshaw, right on the B6161 Pot Bank/Oaker Bank, right on Penny Pot Lane down to Oak Beck, steeply up Penny Pot Lane/Cornwall Road/Harlow Moor Road, down Harlow Moor Drive alongside the Valley Gardens to the Royal Pump Rooms, up the other side of the Valley Gardens on Cornwall Road, then Hereford Road and Kent Road back to the A61 Ripon Road, and the start/finish point of the circuit.

The men's road race finishes on West Park in front of the Hotel du Vin.

Elite men's road race: favourites

I think the course is too hard for pure sprinters like Mark Cavendish or Fernando Gaviria. The ride up Penny Pot Lane/Cornwall Road from Oak Beck isn't long, but it's a steep little climb, and doing it seven times is going to be brutal.

Among the favourites could be Peter Sagan and Greg van Avermaet.

All photos © Hedgehog Cycling

Elite men's road race: comments

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Men's individual time trial


The elite men's individual time trial at the UCI road World Championships 2019 in Yorkshire.

Read about the men's ITT.

Elite men's road race: towns, sights and attractions

Elite men's road race: Leeds

Leeds

Elite men's road race: Otley

Otley

Elite men's road race: Ilkley

Ilkley from Cow & Calf
Ilkley from the Cow & Calf

Ilkley

Elite men's road race: Skipton

Skipton Castle
Skipton Castle

Skipton

Skipton Castle
Skipton church

Elite men's road race: Kettlewell

Stream in Kettlewell
Stream in Kettlewell

Kettlewell, in Upper Wharfedale, is one of the most charming villages in the Yorkshire Dales. It featured as 'Knapely' in the film Calendar Girls. The population is about 320 (including Starbotton; 2017 estimate from City Population).

The name Kettlewell is thought to originate from the Anglo-Saxon Chetelewelle, meaning bubbling spring or stream (Wikipedia). Kettlewell Beck runs through the village, before flowing into the Wharfe just to the west.

Church in Kettlewell
Church in Kettlewell

A market was established in Kettlewell in the 1200s. From 1700 to 1880, there was lead mining, and a smelting mill here. More recently, the village has made its living from agriculture (with Swaledale sheep found in the area) and tourism. Kettlewell is on the route of the Dales Way, and sits below Great Whernside.

There are some historic houses in the village, dating from the 1600s and 1700s. The church was built in 1820. Kettlewell is well-supplied with pubs - there are three: the Racehorses, the Blue Bell, and the King's Head. There's also a Youth Hostel, which incorporates the Post Office. 

Kettlewell hosts a popular scarecrow festival in August each year.

Church in Kettlewell
Blackbird in Kettlewell

Elite men's road race: Aysgarth & AysgarthFalls

Aysgarth Falls

Aysgarth is a village of 178 people (2011 census). 

The name comes from the Old Norse eiki (oak) and skaro (open space), so means something like oak trees in an open space. At the time of the Norman invasion, the manor was held by Cnut (presumably a Norseman). Thereafter, Alan of Brittany was the owner. In the Domesday Book, it is referred to as Echescard.

Aysgarth is famous for Aysgarth Falls, which featured in the film 'Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves'. There are three flights of falls in the one mile stertch of the river Ure near Aysgarth - High Force, west of the village, Middle Force, just east of it, and Lower Force, a little further east. They are broad, rather than very high. There's a nature trail through the woods (Freeholders' Wood and St Josephs Wood).

The rock here is part of the Yoredale geological series, laid down on the sea bed 300 million years ago. It is hard limestone, with thin bands of soft shale. During the last Ice Age, the glaciers in Bishopdale ground deeper than those in Wensleydale. After the glaciers melted, this meant that the river Ure had to drop to meet up with Bishopdale Beck.

In Aysgarth itself, the church of St Andrews (rebuilt 1536) is an impressive building, which contains a rood screen dating from the 1500s, probably from Jervaulx. (Jervaulx was affected by the Dissolution of the Monasteries, 1536-41). 

Aysgarth also hosts the Yorkshire Carriage Museum, in an old water mill, with a large collection of horse-drawn carriages.

Aysgarth used to be on the North Eastern Railway until 1954. The Wensleydale Railway, which uses this line, may eventually be extended to Aysgarth. 

Accommodation includes the Aysgarth Falls Hotel, and the George & Dragon Inn.

Elite men's road race: Harrogate

Harrogate

Harrogate is a town of about 75,000 people, in North Yorkshire.

Its mineral waters were discovered in the 1500s, and it grew as a spa town in the centuries that followed. Many of the spa facilities were built in Queen Victoria's time.

Royal Pump Rooms, Harrogate

Royal Pump Rooms, Harrogate

You can visit the Royal Pump Rooms museum, drink the foul sulphur water from a tap outside (not advised), or dip into the Turkish Baths.

These days, Harrogate's economy is still partly based on tourism and visitors. It has a major Convention Centre, the Great Yorkshire Showground, and many good hotels.

Attractions include the RHS garden at Harlow Carr, the Valley Gardens, and Betty's tea rooms.

Betty's tea rooms Harrogate

Read more about Harrogate.

Elite men's road race:

The

HarrogateLes Sables-d'OlonneFontenay-le-Comte