IT’S easy to see why riders love coming to Yorkshire, says commentator Ned Boulting.

“The riders are fans of this race because it feels like an important occasion. There are riders who are racing cyclists, in other words they love racing their bikes. Some ride their bikes fast and others race their bikes,” says Boulting.

“For those racers in the peloton, the Yorkshire roads with their narrow gauge and their constant dips and rises and their twists and turns are just perfect. If you want to attack you can get away on those roads. They are not big, long dual carriageways of flat nothingness.

“I think the riders who we love to watch love coming to Yorkshire for that reason. But also, a big feature of the Tour de Yorkshire is always the size of the crowds. Sometimes it sounds like a platitude or a cliché to say that, but in Yorkshire’s case it is absolutely true. The crowds continue to be second only to the Tour de France.”

As for the outcome this year?

“The intrigue this year is that Chris Froome is scheduled to make his debut in the race,” he says. “Normally you would say he would just be using this as a training ride and you wouldn’t see him too visibly, however, he has achieved nothing so far in 2019 in terms of form and I wonder if he will have to race the Tour de Yorkshire and take it on really. It would be good to see.

“Other than that, what you can guarantee about the Tour de Yorkshire is that it will be wildly unpredictable – it’s not a race you can call too easily from the outset. You just have to watch it as it develops.”