Parts of the Yorkshire Dales devastated by flooding last year - when downpours damaged homes and washed away bridges - will be back under the spotlight when they feature in this year’s Tour de Yorkshire.
Today (Friday, January 17), Welcome to Yorkshire announced the routes for the sixth edition of the race, with the men’s racing taking place from April 30 to May 3 this year and the women’s race running on May 1 and 2.
Day two of the event will see the men and women’s races travelling from Skipton to Leyburn, passing through Reeth and other parts of Swaledale and Arkengarthdale, which were badly affected by flash flooding in July last year. Torrential rainfall submerged roads, destroyed homes and businesses and washed away two road bridges.
The area had formed part of the route for the Senior Mens Road Race in the UCI Road World Championships last September, but the race was diverted following further torrential rain. Now, the 2020 route will include Grinton and Reeth.
One of the properties impacted by the July floods was the Bridge Inn at Grinton, near Reeth. The heavy rainfall washed away its entranceway bridge over Grinton Beck, damaged walls and flooded part of the building.
Andrew Atkin, landlord of the pub, said; “Obviously last year we had a terrible summer with the flooding which caused devastation - not just to this pub, but the whole of the dale.
“We lost a lot of trade during what should have been the busiest part of the year for us. But I have friends who lost a lot more; many people lost their homes. It really left a big mark on the place.
“But people are resilient and this year it would be nice to have an event which puts the focus back on the dales and lets people know this area is open for business.”
Stuart Price runs the Dales Bike Centre in Swaledale, which offers a range of services for visiting cyclists, including bunk bed accommodation, bike repairs, and a café and bike wash service.
His business is about to undergo a £1.3m expansion, which includes extending the centre’s bike hire provision and car park, adding an additional eight rooms of accommodation and more the trebling the capacity of his café from 23 covers to 70.
“I wouldn’t be expanding without the Tour de Yorkshire,” he said. “There’s no way a little business like ours would be looking at a £1.3m expansion without the confidence in this market and seeing a huge increase in business over the last few years.”
Stuart said he was looking forward to seeing the race pass through some stunning sections of the Yorkshire Dales.
“It’s a great area for cycling and it’s great that this year’s event will take in this climb at Grinton Moor. This is a must-do route for a lot of cyclists,” he said.
The route near Grinton will also take in a section of road where a masonry bridge was dramatically washed away by the floods, just over a mile south of Grinton. North Yorkshire County Council engineers and contractors worked around the clock to have the Whipperdale Bank road reopened with a replacement bridge within about five weeks.
North Yorkshire County Council leader, Cllr Carl Les said: “It’s not just the local economy which benefits; it’s also about community. Our towns and villages up and down North Yorkshire have demonstrated they have a real appetite for staging celebrations when the races come through.”
North Yorkshire will feature in three of the four days of men’s cycling and on the first day of the women’s cycle race.
Stage one of the Men’s Race will follow the Yorkshire Coast after setting off from Beverley, passing through Filey, Whitby and Staithes before finishing in Redcar; the most northerly point the race has reached.
Stage two will see Skipton form the start point for the race and Leyburn the finish. It is the first time either community has been a host town for the Tour de Yorkshire.
The final day of the Men’s Race will see cyclists return to the Yorkshire Dales for part of the route, as they cycle from Halifax to Leeds, taking in Skipton, Pateley Bridge and Masham on the way.