The Canyon dhb p/b Bloor Homes team goes into the Tour de Yorkshire with high confidence and ambitious targets on the back of a succession of stellar performances at the Klondike GP, Arno Wallaard Memorial and Rutland-Melton CiCLE Classic races over the last three weekends.
The Tour de Yorkshire is classified as a UCI 2.HC ‘Hors Categorie’ race, only one of two at that level that take place in the UK, the other being September’s Tour of Britain.
The Canyon dhb p/b Bloor Homes team will pit themselves against some of the best teams and riders in the world including four time Tour de France champion Chris Froome (Team Ineos, previously called Team Sky), current Olympic champion and last year’s winner Greg van Avermaet (CCC) and 30-times Tour de France stage winner, Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data).
In the 2017 and 2018 editions of the Tour de Yorkshire the Bike Channel Canyon and Canyon Eisberg teams exceeded expectations gaining a succession of jerseys with the highlight being Harry Tanfield’s stage one win last year and wearing the overall leader’s light-blue jersey then the points leader’s green jersey over the following three days of the race.
In regards to the 2019 edition Directeur Sportif and team owner, Tim Elverson commented…
“It’s great to be back in Yorkshire. It’s the team’s third year and we come with different goals this time.
I feel we have GC (General Classification) opportunities but without doubt would like to be on the podium for some jersey wearing.
It’s a great event and fantastic to see so much local support so we can’t wait to get on the roads”
Tim has chosen a team that can cover all the bases with proven GC, breakaway and sprint contenders.
The GC is based on cumulative time over the four stages including any time bonuses gained and the winner of this classification is deemed to be the overall winner of the race and is awarded the light-blue jersey.
In 2018 Tom Stewart won the GC at the Tour of Normandie, Dan Pearson was 6th in the Tour of Croatia and 11th in the Tour Oman (both HC classified races) and Max Stedman won the GC at the Tour of Quanzhou Bay (a GC he also won in 2017).
Stewart, Pearson and Stedman are likely to be most active in stages three and four which both contain five categorised climbs each day.
The first two stages are likely to be large bunch sprint finishes with sprint specialists Robert-Jon McCarthy (stage winner in the Ras Tailteann in 2018) and Jacob Hennessy (2nd and 3rd in stages of the HC Tour of Qinghai Lake in 2018) aiming to be in the mix for Canyon dhb p/b Bloor Homes.
However, as we know from Harry Tanfield’s dramatic stage win last year, a strong breakaway group can spoil a sprinters party and Rory Townsend has strong credentials in such a scenario typified by his 3rd place in March’s Classic Loire Atlantique after being in the break all day. Townsend has also demonstrated that he has recaptured his own great sprint form of 2017 with his win at the Klondike GP and 3rd place at the CiCLE Classic.
The seventh member of the squad is all-rounder and team-player Andy Tennant. Andy is another strong sprinter and is likely to play a lead-out role for McCarthy and Hennessy. Andy is also capable of a robust breakaway and bringing riders back into contention having suffered punctures, mechanicals or crashes, a role he demonstrated so well in the 2018 edition of the race.
As well as rider intentions, the weather, stage length and profile will also be factors in how a stage unfolds.
North/north-westerly winds are forecast so these could either help split a peloton under pressure or discourage a breakaway into a headwind. Stages two and three are only 132 km (82 miles) in length so they could be ridden very aggressively, particularly stage three which has five categorised climbs and potentially a strong tailwind back down the east coast which could assist any breakaway back into Scarborough.
If you wish to understand more about the challenges and characteristics of the four stages, click here for the Tour de Yorkshire race website to see the ‘Rider Recce Films’.
In summary, the race provides a wealth of opportunity for the Canyon dhb p/b Bloor Homes team and Tim’s most difficult challenge could be choosing the right tactics and rider roles for each particular stage, whilst keeping in mind the strategy for the race as a whole.
Best wishes to all the riders and support staff for a great Tour de Yorkshire 2019.
Written by Paul and Marina Stedman
Image one – Rex Features
Image two – SWpix.com
Image three – Paul Stedman
Image four – Paul Stedman
Image five – Paul Stedman