THE YORKSHIRE TERRIER LIVED UP TO EXPECTATIONS- 30/04/2017 -
The third and final stage of the 2017 Tour de Yorkshire was a gruelling 194km parcour, nicknamed ‘The Yorkshire Terrier’ due to the savage nature of the course, the stage featured no less than 8 classified climbs and several unclassified climbs along the way.
Rolling out of the City of Bradford, the peloton headed North before turning back on itself after 30km for the long run into the brand new Fox Valley in Sheffield. During the opening stages several riders and teams were on their toes, keen to make the break of the day with several groups forming briefly before being closed down by the peloton. After a number of attempts, Yorkshire resident Pete Williams managed to escape the peloton after 18km of racing, seizing his opportunity and joining 4 others to form a solid lead group. The peloton kept the pace high as several other riders tried to join the leaders but the front five individuals pressed on to hold the chasers at bay.
Once the peloton re-grouped the pace came off and the gap slowly started to creep out. At this point 2 riders jumped clear of the peloton and rode across to join the leaders to make a 7 strong break.
The crowds were out in force to cheer on breakaway man Pete Williams as he raced through his home town of Skipton, as the break hit the first KOM of the day Williams contested the points finishing in 3rd position. As the break held a lead of four minutes on to the second climb of the day Williams was once again in contention finishing 2nd on the line.
In an unfortunate turn of events, Pete Williams suffered a puncture shortly after the 3rd KOM and as he hit the bottom of Shibden Wall he was still frantically chasing but in the end, Williams was unable to make the junction and slid back to the peloton. The team rallied around GC hopeful Tom Stewart and throughout the day positioned themselves to help keep him at the front of the race. With 20km remaining and 4 KOMs to tackle within 15km, Stewart along with his team mates were in a good position to fight it out.
Once the attacks started at the front Stewart was unable to respond and found himself sliding out of the leading group, however showing grit and determination Stewart clawed his way back into a small chase group with just 3km remaining to cross the line in 24th place and finishing 21st on the General Classification.