The UCI Road World Championships sees 1,400 athletes from 90 countries take part in the racing spectacular over nine days across Yorkshire. As host town, all races finish in Harrogate.
For those lucky enough to witness this global sporting event live, tourism marketing agency Visit Harrogate has compiled the Top Ten spots across the Harrogate District to get the best spectator experience.
Richard Spencer, Director of Visit Harrogate, said: “Visit Harrogate is excited to be welcoming the world to Harrogate, and we’re working closely with Yorkshire 2019 and our partners to showcase the District to the tens of thousands of visitors expected for the races.”
Global viewing figures for the event are predicted to be over 250 million. BBC coverage is led by Clare Balding with live coverage on BBC Two, the Red Button and iPlayer, as well as the BBC Sport website and app.
Richard added: “With the championships taking place over nine days across Yorkshire, it can be confusing to know where best to experience the most exciting aspects of the racing. The spots we’ve chosen not only show off the best vantage points to see the most challenging routes, but they also showcase the best of our District’s locations, from entertainment in the fan zone to the more relaxed setting of RHS Harlow Carr Gardens to the scenic splendour of Nidderdale.”
The Visit Harrogate website also hosts a bespoke ‘What’s On’ of events happening across the District during the championships. Spectators can join tourism attractions including Mother Shipton’s Cave in Knaresborough or at the World Heritage site, Fountains Abbey near Ripon, to celebrate the races. Events include An Evening with Bradley Wiggins at Harrogate Theatre and special screenings and community hubs in pubs and cafes across the host town.
For more, go to www.visitharrogate.co.uk/events/uciworlds2019
Top 10 Spots to Watch!
1. MUSEUM CORNER, HARROGATE
This exciting section of road by the main entrance to Harrogate’s Valley Gardens sees two technical corners on the Harrogate circuit. You can count on this being one of the top locations in Harrogate. However, this spot will be busy on the Elite race days so you may not be guaranteed the best view.
The long sweeping turn from Valley Drive to Cornwall Road will be tempting for riders to take fast but there will be risk in doing so. This multiple junction also features significant amounts of white paint that can be treacherous when wet.
The races pass again, on the penultimate corner before the finish line. This corner is also right next to the Corner Haus bar, hosting a series of festivities throughout the championships with All Things Ride and Visit Flanders!
2. THE FAN ZONE IN HARROGATE
The atmosphere on the Stray during the Tour de France was legendary! The laughs, the cheers, the gasp heard across Yorkshire when Cavendish hit the tarmac outside Bettys Tear Rooms.
For the World Championships the Stray will host the official Fan Zone. The Fan Zone will be open throughout the championships with great food and drink, big cycling brands and entertainment throughout the day, as well as big screens showing all the action every day.
3. RIPON ROAD, HARROGATE, NR THE ROYAL HALL
Another location that offers more than one chance to see the races as they pass with two of the last three turns of every race within sight. The third to last and final corners on the Harrogate circuit are above and below this section respectively.
First, the riders will make a difficult fast right as they turn onto Swan Road in a deviation to the route through Harrogate used in 2014 by the Tour de France. This technical turn will string the peloton out and positions lost here will be vital in the race for the finish line. Riders then re-join the main road with another hard right into the significant slope of Parliament Street that will take away nearly all their speed as the riders begin the push to the finish line.
4. RHS GARDEN HARLOW CARR
Enjoy unlimited entry to the gardens with RHS Garden Harlow Carr’s Rainbow Wristband offer. On days where racing uses the Harrogate circuit you will be able to leave and re-enter the gardens to see the racing pass by Harlow Carr on the Otley Road section of the finishing circuit. Perfect for families or those looking to find a more relaxing spectator experience, especially on the final days of the event.
Harlow Carr will be host to a number of fun activities throughout the gardens for the week of the races including sculpture, a treasure hunt, land art and the option to picnic in the grounds!
Ripon city centre will see the start of two of the Individual Time Trial races on Tuesday 24 September, the Men Under 23 followed in the afternoon by the Elite Women.
The Time Trial will begin from a start ramp built on the Market Square in the heart of this beautiful historic city where you will be able to watch all the big names set off.
Ripon will also see the road races pass through the city on the 27, 28 and 29 of September each using a different route that will present a different challenge each time.
This picturesque town on the River Nidd was the origin of the yellow painted bicycles that spread across Yorkshire during 2014 in celebration of the Tour de France. Knaresborough always embraces the racing with a festival atmosphere.
Knaresborough will be host events at each end of the championships with a party at the Castle on Saturday 21 September for the Para races that pass down the iconic high street, and on the final weekend for the inaugural Knaresborough Autumn Festival offering fun for all the family.
7. MASHAM MARKET SQUARE
Masham market square was one of the iconic images of the Grand Depart in 2014 with the enormous artwork of the Masham sheep created by local school children. Masham sees racing on three days of the championships across 25, 28 and 29 September. Masham is the archetypal dales town set in idyllic countryside and arranged around a beautiful market place.
The town is also home to two famous breweries, so it is perhaps fitting that the residents are so adept at organising a celebration!
8. PATELEY BRIDGE HIGH STREET
This iconic and award winning shopping Street will see two races sweep down its length and across the River Nidd at the bottom. This stretch of road was featured in the Tour de Yorkshire for the fourth consecutive year in 2019 and is always popular with spectators.
For those who come either on, or with the bike, both the big Nidderdale climbs are nearby meaning you can soak up the atmosphere on the high street as the race approaches and then head to the climb to see all the action!
9. LOFTHOUSE, UPPER NIDDERDALE
Ride to the top of Nidderdale and see the Elite Women take on what is widely considered the most challenging climb of the whole championships. Trapping Hill appeared in the 2017 women’s Tour de Yorkshire and saw local favourite Lizzie Deignan unleash a brutal attack that ultimately could not be countered by the peloton and secured her the victory.
This long and technical climb above the village of Lofthouse is a great viewing opportunity for the race and the local community always put on a true Yorkshire welcome.
10. GREENHOW HILL
This multifaceted climb offers numerous places along its profile that are ideal for spectating during the Men U23 Road Race on 27 September.
With the sharp and sudden ramp that begins immediately upon leaving Pateley Bridge, the tight switching turns half way up and the long drawn out run in to the summit this two mile climb will test riders’ limits to the edge. It is no wonder this climb has become a solid favourite for the Tour de Yorkshire, making its third appearance in the race this year.