The Yorkshire Dales will take centre stage when the county hosts a new-look UCI Road Cycling World Championships next year.
Organisers on Wednesday unveiled the eight different routes which will be used over nine days of racing between September 21-29.
All four corners of Yorkshire are represented, but with each race finishing in Harrogate, the rolling hills of the Dales will see the bulk of the action as riders compete for the famous rainbow bands.
Then comes the debut of the innovative new mixed team time trial on Sunday – an event which will see a three-strong men’s team race before handing over to a three-strong women’s team to finish the job.
“We want to do things better, bigger and differently,” Welcome to Yorkshire chief executive Sir Gary Verity said at the route announcement in Innsbruck.
“We were really keen that the first weekend would be the most diverse and most inclusive championships ever seen.
“It’s really important to us that we have a mammoth opening weekend, so with the para-cycling on Saturday and (the mixed team time trial) on the Sunday, I think we’ve got a really strong opening weekend and I think you’ll see millions of people turn out to see these two events, both of which are groundbreaking in their own right.”
Yorkshire will host the first world championships to be staged in Britain since the 1982 event at Goodwood, and will aim to build on the explosion of interest since the 2014 Tour de France and the subsequent staging of the Tour de Yorkshire.
Asked what made Yorkshire special, UCI president David Lappartient said: “It’s probably the region in the world where passion is at its highest level” – comments sure to raise an eyebrow in Flanders but music to the ears of Verity.
Echoes of 2014 will be plentiful given the finishes in Harrogate, but most obvious on the final day, when the elite men’s road race follows much of the same route as the opening stage four years ago, taking riders over the climbs of Buttertubs and Grinton Moor before seven laps of a town centre circuit in Harrogate.
But though the finish line is in a similar spot to the Tour in West Park, a sprint finish similar to the one won by Marcel Kittel is unlikely.
The introduction of a slight kink in the approach to the line will see riders take a sharp right-hand turn before the slight climb up Parliament Street to the finish – likely to punch a hole in any attempts at a lead-out at the end of 284 testing kilometres.
It is a kink which features in every route for the week’s racing. The elite women’s race will be contested over 149km between Bradford and Harrogate, featuring climbs of Norwood Edge and Lofthouse.
Early in the day the peloton will pass through Otley, hometown of 2015 world champion Lizzie Deignan who is aiming to compete next year having given birth to daughter Orla on Monday.
East Yorkshire will get its turn with the para-cycling on the opening day, which will see different starts in Beverley, Tadcaster, Wetherby and Harrogate itself for different classifications.
South Yorkshire must wait until the Friday, September 27, when the women’s junior race and the men’s U23 race will take place on routes which both start in Doncaster.
But it is North and West Yorkshire which will share the limelight with the Dales the perfect battleground before the finishes in Harrogate.