ILKLEY has today been unveiled as one of eight host locations for the 2018 Tour de Yorkshire.

The stages for the newly expanded fourth Tour de Yorkshire will begin or end in: Barnsley (South Yorkshire); Beverley (East Yorkshire); Doncaster (South Yorkshire); Halifax (Calderdale); Ilkley (Bradford); Leeds (West Yorkshire); Richmond (North Yorkshire) and Scarborough (North Yorkshire).

Organisers Welcome to Yorkshire and the Amaury Sport Organisation (A.S.O.) revealed the locations for the four-day men’s race which will take place between May 3-6. The Asda Women’s Tour de Yorkshire – which is doubling in size from one to two days - will be held over May 3-4.

The third Tour took place in April, travelling through Menston, Burley, Ilkley and Addingham. A record 2.2 million spectators lined the route and generated £64 million for the Yorkshire economy. The action was also beamed live in 180 countries and attracted 9.7 million global TV viewers on Eurosport and ITV alone.

Ilkley is no stranger to cycle racing as roads in the town have been used for the Tour de France Grand Depart in 2014 and the pros tackled the route right by the world famous Cow and Calf Rocks as part of the Tour de Yorkshire in 2015.

Councillor Sarah Ferriby, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Environment, Sport and Culture, said: “We are delighted that Ilkley has been chosen to host either a start or a finish for the Tour de Yorkshire in 2018.

“This builds on the fantastic time we had when Stage 3 started in our multi-award winning City Park in May earlier this year which saw vast numbers of spectators take to the streets in the district to celebrate and cheer the riders on. These events are an excellent boost for the district financially.”

Sir Gary Verity, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said: “The Tour de Yorkshire is a true success story and in just three years it has grown to become one of the best attended and most dramatic races on the cycling calendar.

“Of course, with the men’s race being extended to four days and the women’s race now being held over two, it means we can visit more parts of the county and I know our eight start and finish locations will put on a real show.”

Christian Prudhomme, Director of the Tour de France at the A.S.O, said: “The Tour de Yorkshire has gone from strength to strength over the last three years and we are delighted to be working in partnership with such a great team at Welcome to Yorkshire.

“The way people get behind the race in Yorkshire is incredible and we are looking forward to another fantastic edition in 2018.”

Julie Harrington, Chief Executive of British Cycling, said: "Next year's Tour de Yorkshire is shaping up to be the best yet with more stages for the men's and women's races and, at British Cycling, we're looking forward to working with colleagues and partners across the county to use the inspiration of the world's best riders to get even more people on bikes."

Next year’s Tour will once again see the return of the Maserati Tour de Yorkshire Ride sportive and give the chance for Tour Makers to volunteer on the race route and help welcome the millions of spectators.

Many of the host towns announced today are also home to Yorkshire Bank Bike Libraries, a direct legacy of the Tour de France and Tour de Yorkshire, which aim to offer every child in Yorkshire access to a bike. So far 46 libraries have opened across the county and over 5,000 bikes have been donated.

The full 2018 race route will be unveiled at The Piece Hall in Halifax on Tuesday, December 5, 2017 – this announcement will include exact start and finish locations and the distance and profile of each stage.