Organisers of the Tour de Yorkshire said they were delighted that Mark Cavendish has confirmed he will compete in the race.
Cavendish suffered a dramatic crash at the Milan – San Remo race in Italy on Saturday 17 March, fracturing a rib and damaging his ankle after colliding with a traffic bollard, and reports had suggested that he would be back in action at the Tour of California (13-19 May).
His recovery has gone better than expected, however, and Team Dimension Data have announced he will now be fit to compete in Yorkshire.
The 32-year-old Manxman is one of the sport’s highest-profile figures having won no-less than 30 Tour de France stages in a glittering career that also includes the 2011 UCI World Road Race Championships title and a silver medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Cavendish said: “I’m delighted to have recovered sufficiently from my injuries at Milan -San Remo to be back racing sooner than I initially thought and what better way to do that than at what could be described as a home race for me, the Tour de Yorkshire.
“My mother’s from Harrogate and obviously the last time I raced things didn’t go that great (for me) in the 2014 Tour de France; but one thing I do remember is the incredible crowds and I know that the Tour de Yorkshire always provides. It’s the first time that I’ve raced the Tour de Yorkshire and I’m extremely excited.”
This year the popular race peloton comes through Warter, Pocklington, Allerthorpe, Melbourne, Seaton Ross and Holme on Spalding Moor on Thursday 3 May.
The first classified climb is expected at Baggaby Hill (4.07pm) and will get the cyclists’ legs pumping before a brisk descent into Pocklington for the opening intermediate sprint at 4:12pm.
After passing the feed zone at Holme on Spalding Moor (4:44pm) the pace will gradually ramp up again for a second sprint in Howden at 4:59pm.
It’s then full steam into Doncaster on the newly opened Great Yorkshire Way with the first day’s race finishing at around 6.20pm.
The women’s opening stage gets going in Beverley at 8:40pm and will follow the same route as the men once they have returned to Beverley.
The women will contest the Cote de Baggaby Hill at 9:53am just before the first intermediate sprint comes in Pocklington at 9:57am.
The second sprint in Howden should take place at 10:50am and the action is scheduled to reach its conclusion in Doncaster at 12:19pm.
These timings have been calculated by anticipating the peloton’s average speed but are subject to change depending on variables such as wind speed, direction and how aggressively the riders race.
Welcome to Yorkshire’s chief executive Sir Gary Verity said: “Mark is a living legend in the world of cycling and we’re over the moon that he will be competing at the Tour de Yorkshire next month.
“His crash in Italy looked really serious but he’s such a tough, tenacious character and we’re thrilled he’s been able to make such a speedy recovery.
“I’m sure Mark will have his eyes on at least two of the stages on this year’s route and we can’t wait to see him launch his trademark sprint. It’s not every day you get to see a sportsman of his stature competing on home roads, and we’re certain he’ll receive a hero’s welcome.”