Tour de France & UCI road World Championships
Parliament Street, Harrogate
The Harrogate circuit at the 2019 UCI road World Championships in Yorkshire features in many of the events, sometimes after a route from elsewhere in Yorkshire. The mixed team time trial takes place exclusively on the Harrogate circuit, and covers it twice - the men ride it, then the women.
Map of the Harrogate circuit, © Welcome to Yorkshire. (See full-size map)
Penny Pot Lane
The official profile of the Harrogate circuit:
Profile of the Harrogate circuit, © Welcome to Yorkshire
The start and finish line of the circuit is on West Park, at the junction with Victoria Avenue and Beech Grove. The photo shows the United Reform church, and Cathcart House to the left of the church; that's about where the start finish point will be.
The route begins heading south on West Park, to the Prince of Wales roundabout. Here, it's a right turn up the B6162 Otley Road.
The distance on Otley Road is nearly 4km. It's straight. The first 1.6km are an uphill drag, to Harlow Hill. The start height is about 125m, and the top is 180m, which means a height gain of 55m, and a modest average gradient of 3.4%. The way the Shepherd's Dog pub is built gives a good idea of the steepness.
Shepherd's Dog pub, Harrogate
The crest of the hill comes just past Nursery Lane (which leads to Harlow Hill Tower), when you're level with Harlow Hill Recreation Ground.
Harlow Hill Recreation Ground
Then it's downhill past the Pine Marten pub (on the left) and RHS Harlow Carr (on the right), before levelling out on the last little stretch to Beckwithshaw.
Otley Road, downhill towards Beckwithshaw
At Beckwithshaw, the route comes to a junction, and it's right on the B6161. The road descends to Oak Beck, then climbs the other side - Pot Bank, on the map of the Harrogate circuit.
Next, there's a roundabout junction, where it's right on Penny Pot Lane.
Penny Pot Lane
Penny Pot Lane passes a housing estate, takes a sharp bend to the right, and descends to Oak Beck again.
Bridge over Oak Beck, Penny Pot Lane
From coming down to the bridge to heading up the other side, it is a tight turn, and it will be a challenge to carry as much speed as possible from the descent into the climb that follows.
Penny Pot Lane, bridge over Oak Beck
It's quite a steep pull up from Oak Beck. Anyone from Harrogate who cycles is familiar with this little ramp, which has to be tackled when coming back from a ride to the west of the town.
Climb up from Oak Beck, Penny Pot Lane
Penny Pot Lane becomes Cornwall Road, then Harlow Moor Road. The gradient gradually levels out as you pass the Harrogate Spring Water plant on the right.
Harrogate Spring Water
As you continue through the Pinewoods to the junction with Harlow Moor Drive, it's still uphill, and there are some speed bumps.
Harlow Moor Road
Parked cars ruining a photo of Harlow Moor Drive
Harlow Moor Drive runs downhill, along the south side of the Valley Gardens. By an entrance to the Valley Gardens, there's a roundabout.
Entrance to Valley Gardens
The route continues alongside the Valley Gardens, on what is now Valley Drive. At the bottom of the hill are the Royal Pump Rooms. Here, the riders turn left, up Cornwall Road.
Valley Drive (the road on the left) and Cornwall Road (straight ahead)
Cornwall Road takes the riders back up the north side of the Valley Gardens. Part-way up, it's right on Hereford Road. This is a leafy residential area, with wide streets, and large houses.
Hereford Road, Harrogate
Next, it's the third right turn, onto Kent Road.
Kent Road, Harrogate
It's fairly flat at first, then a bit downhill to the junction of Kent Road and the A61 Ripon Road. Where Kent Road meets the A61, the riders have to turn right, uphill for a short distance until they reach the crest of the hill.
Uphill on Ripon Road
Then it's downhill for a short way, with a view of Parliament Street on the other side of the dip.
Downhill on Ripon Road
Instead of going down into the dip, though, the competitors will turn right on Swan Road, and pass the Swan Hotel.
Swan Road, Harrogate
Beyond the hotel, Swan Road runs past the Royal Pump Rooms, passing the tap that dispenses water from a sulphur spring. It was drunk by valetudinarians taking the cure in times past, but it is now labelled 'not fit for human consumption'; you can still drink it as long as you don't blame anyone else for your decision. Would a glass of it trigger an Adverse Analytical Finding?
Sulphur water fountain, Harrogate
At the Royal Pump Rooms, it's left on Crescent Road, which runs past the Crescent Gardens and the Royal Baths.
Crescent Road, Harrogate
At the end of Crescent Road, there's a right turn up Parliament Street (see the main photo at the top of the page). Parliament Street runs up to Bettys, and the scene of Mark Cavendish's 2014 Tour de France crash.
Parliament Street turns into West Park, and the start/finish point.
The U23 men's individual time trial at the UCI road World Championships 2019 in Yorkshire.
Read about the men's U23 ITT.
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.
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.
Read more about Harrogate.
West Park Stray
The Harrogate circuit begins on West Park. It runs alongside part of Harrogate Stray, or Two Hundred Acre. The Stray is land that was saved for the public at the time of the Enclosures, because the wells and springs upon which the town depended were on these parts of the Royal Forest of Knaresborough.
Cathcart House, Harrogate
The start/finish line is near Cathcart House. It was built in the 1860s as a guest house, and Princess Alix of Hesse was one of the guests; she later become Empress of Russia.
Coach & Horses, Harrogate
Shortly after setting off up West Park, the Coach & Horses pub is on the left. It still has its fine cycling artwork on the exterior, artwork that was put up at the time of the 2014 Tour de France.
Prince of Wales mansions, Harrogate
At the top of West Park is the Prince of Wales roundabout, overlooked by the Prince of Wales mansions. A plaque states that the building was constructed around 1815 as Hattersley's coaching inn, then renamed the Brunswick in 1833. (Brunswick was also the name of Harrogate's first railway station, which was diagonally opposite the coaching inn). In 1866, it became the Prince of Wales hotel, and in 1960, it was converted into apartments.
Harlow Hill Tower, Harrogate (and the water tower on the right)
Harlow Hill Tower (the square tower on the left) is a listed building. It was built about 1829. During World War II, it was the local Home Guard HQ. It seems that it began to used as an astronomical Observatory in the 1950s. There are 100 steps up to the top, which you can climb on one weekend a year, as part of a Heritage Open Day.
The other (round) tower is Harlow Hill Water Tower, also listed. It dates from 1902 (British Listed Buildings).
Magnesia Well café, Valley Gardens
The Valley Gardens is an area of lawns and flower beds. Historically, it was known as Bogs Field, because it has a very high concentration of natural springs, with greatly varying mineral content. Bogs Field was very important in the era of spa tourism.
Royal Pump Rooms, Harrogate
The Royal Pump Rooms houses one of the strongest sulphur wells in Europe.
It was built in 1842 on the initiative of newly-appointed Harrogate Improvement Commissioners. They commissioned Isaac Shutt, son of the owner of the Swan Inn, to build it. His octagonal, classical construction allowed visitors to Harrogate to be sheltered as they drank the sulphur water, provided they paid an entrance fee; to uphold the right of free access to the waters, an outside tap was put in place (Malcolm Neesam, Exclusively Harrogate).
The outside tap is still there, and the brave can still taste water from the sulphur spring.
The waters declined in popularity after World War II, and following the founding of the NHS, and eventually the Royal Pump Rooms closed. A museum opened in the building in 1953.
Swan Hotel, Harrogate
The Swan Hotel, Harrogate, is about 200 years old. The Swan Inn existed on this site in Low Harrogate since at least 1777 (Wikipedia). In the late 1800s, it was redeveloped, and became the Harrogate Hydro.
Agatha Christie disappeared in 1926, and was missing for 11 days. She checked into the Hydro under the name Mrs Teresa Neele. She was eventually recognised by one of the hotel's banjo players.
In 1939, the hotel was requisitioned by the Ministry of Aircraft Production.
It was renamed the Old Swan in the 1950s, and refurbished in 2006. It has 136 bedrooms, and its Wedgewood restaurant has a glass ceiling. (Presumably, then, there are lots of waitresses, but the maitre d' is a man).
Crescent Gardens, Harrogate
The Crescent Gardens are small, but reasonably pleasant. They are close to busy roads.
They were developed in the 1890s on the site of the old Crescent Inn, to provide an area for strolling after taking the waters.
The old council offices take up one side of the gardens. The building has been sold to a property developer called Adam Thorpe, who is planning to turn it into really posh flats, costing £2.5 to 10 million.