PLANS for an annual three-day Tour of Yorkshire cycling race, featuring many of the world's top cyclists have been cemented in a long-term deal involving the organisers of the Tour de France and the world governing body for sports cycling.
Tourism body Welcome to Yorkshire, which helped stage the Grand Depart earlier this month, said it expected large crowds to watch the inaugural race starting on May 1, 2015, which will be televised worldwide.
Details of the race have been drawn up in France this week and it is thought the first race route will run along the Yorkshire coast before heading west across the county.
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Areas such as the North York Moors and Ryedale are set to feature after leaders of ASO, which also runs the Vuelta a España grand tour and classics such as the Critérium du Dauphiné, said they were disappointed not to be able to include them in the Grand Depart route.
It is also hoped to create iconic cycling routes - similar to Alpe d'Huez in France - such as the Buttertubs Pass in the Yorkshire Dales, which the Tour of Yorkshire would regularly include.
Gary Verity, the body's chief executive, said a lengthy international women's race would be held on the second day of the men's event, and had attracted interest from Olympic silver medallist Lizzie Armistead and five-time world champion Marianne Vos, who many regard as the finest female cyclist of her generation.
He said the men's event had already attracted interest from top teams, including sprinter Marcel Kittel's Giant-Shimano, who have said they would compete.
Mr Verity said: "On the back of the Tour de France there will be lots of people wanting to turn out to see it because people have got the cycling bug.
"Even people who are not into cycling in a big way, and obviously don't have knowledge of the Tour de France, are asking can we get the Tour back next year, not knowing that it's a once in a generation thing when it would probably visit Yorkshire.
"It will be a different route each year and the first year it must visit places that the Tour didn't visit, not exclusively, but over the three days there will be some points where the Tour was.
“We want Yorkshire to be the capital of European cycling."
Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme said: “It therefore seems perfectly natural for Welcome to Yorkshire, British Cycling and ASO to continue working together in this new land of cycling, through the Tour of Yorkshire."