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Experience the Tour de France… In Yorkshire.

| Blog, Cycling Plus, Features | 08/07/2013 09:56am

Want to ride the Yorkshire Tour De France stages with motorcycle outriders and full team car support without being part of a Pro team? The award winning Rendezvous Hotel in Skipton has teamed up with professional global motorbike and support car equipped ride guides CyCol tours to create a unique three day riding break that puts you as close as possible to the pro team experience and it’s ruddy marvellous says our Yorkshire correspondent Guy Kesteven.

Effervescent host Malcolm Weaving provides everything from Tour De France jersey themed starter pasta options to a specially prepped ‘cyclist’s breakfast’ and feed bag of bars and gels. For the launch event we were also joined by eight times Tour De France stage winner and Yorkshire cycling legend Barry Hoban and British Cycling president Brian Cookson on the eve of his UCI presidency announcement.

While ultra experienced, ex-police outriders Bob and Iain from Cycol can’t actually stop traffic and close junctions since they retired, their decades of experience escorting everyone from royalty to professional stage races is clear in the way they control the traffic like a couple of Jedi.

Riding the road from Skipton up to Grassington normally makes you feel like a rattling mechanical rabbit at a dog track. With quarry wagons and builders rushing to yet another barn conversion kept in check by the bikes and support cars, it was time to feel more like the Queen’s corgi’s. A luminous vest, a big grin and a motorbike engine on tick over means there’s no doubt about which turning to take next either, so once the group had settled down, ride flow was fantastic.

It doesn’t take long to realise what convinced Christian Prudhomme and the ASO to bring the Tour to Yorkshire. Threading through unspoilt farming hamlets and ancient barn cornered, dry stone walled meadows bursting with lambs, calves and wild flowers, following the mahogany legs and sage commentary of Barry Hoban.

Bob drops back to warn us of loose gravel ahead in Kettlewell where the TDF road resurfacing is getting underway then we tempo the gradual Alpine, style climb of Kidstones Pass. Then it’s into truly world class descent towards West Burton. You literally couldn’t have made a better set of curves with a cycling Scalextrix set and the big ring slingshot carries on down the dale for several euphoric miles as the Cycol boys paste our group back together from the inevitable climb and descent splinters.

Buttertubs climb beyond Hawes is the serious watershed slope of the ride then it’s another stunning tyre scrubbing Postman Pat descent down Swaledale to our favourite coffee and cake oasis of the Dales Bike Centre in Reeth. Suitably indulged with home made cake and inspired by Barry’s tales of racing in 1960s Europe, it’s over the ‘Tank Road’ to Leyburn, support cars growling behind us giving a real ‘breakaway 5k to go on the Alpe D’Huez’ flush to fading legs.

Being able to drop back for ‘sticky’ water bottles, gilets, bars from the CyCol cars makes a massive difference to how hard you’re happy to push yourself and if you do blow you can watch the rest of the ride from the back seat Directeur Sportif style.

There’s a few of the group in the car after we turn off the tour route where it meets main roads and go steep and scenic back over past Brimham Rocks and Greenhow Hill back towards Embsay and Skipton and roll back into the Rendezvous exhausted but elated and more than ready for the waiting soigneur and another slap up feast.

Depending on how much you’ve got in your legs CyCol will guide you through all the best routes of stage 2 on the second or third day of the break or put together any custom ride you want to suit your Tour related needs.
Whatever you choose to do it’s a truly remarkable bucket list riding experience that’ll make you feel like a proper pro and give you a unique insight into what the peloton boys are in for come next July.

For more info contact www.rendezvous-skipton.co.uk and get yourself up to Yorkshire for your own Grand Depart.

All pictures ©Sam Needham

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