Sir Bradley Wiggins will get a belated chance to sample Yorkshire cycling fever after confirming he will race in the inaugural Tour de Yorkshire in May.
Wiggins missed out on last year’s Grand Depart of the Tour de France after being left out of the Team Sky squad, but this year’s three-day race will constitute one of the first outings for his new Team Wiggins development squad.
Wiggins will be joined in the race by leading sprinter Marcel Kittel, who won the first stage of last year’s Tour de France in Harrogate.
In another coup for organisers, 11-time Paralympic champion Dame Sarah Storey has confirmed she will take part in the women’s race on May 2.
The Tour de Yorkshire is being staged as a direct legacy of last year’s highly successful Grand Depart, which saw millions line the county’s roads to watch the world’s biggest cycle race.
Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme, whose ASO group is behind the new race, said: “”We will be glad to return to Yorkshire after the huge success of the Tour de France 2014 Grand Depart, the grandest ever.
“The first ever Tour de Yorkshire will be another occasion to showcase the outstanding landscapes of the county, especially of the coast where we didn’t go last year with Le Tour.
“Tour de Yorkshire will be a great opportunity to review young talents among British riders and enable them to ride with top Tour de France professional teams and cycling stars like Sir Bradley Wiggins and Marcel Kittel.”
The Tour de Yorkshire starts on May 1 with a stage from Bridlington to Scarborough via the North York Moors. Stage two runs from Selby to York the following day, and Stage Three starts in Wakefield and finishes in Leeds.
Other confirmed participants among the 16 teams include Team Sky, Kittel’s Team Giant Alpecin, and the ONE Pro Cycling team run by former England cricketer Matt Prior.
Prior said: “We are incredibly excited and proud to be racing in the inaugural Tour de Yorkshire, particularly in our first year.
“The Grand Depart in Yorkshire was a huge inspiration for us setting up this team as it showed the level of interest there is in cycling and racing in the UK. Our riders will be massively looking forward to being on the start line with some of the biggest teams in the world.”