IT promises to be a bumper week for cycling fans as the excitement builds ahead of the start of the Tour de France in Leeds.

The action kicks off on Sunday with the ever-popular White Rose Classic which attracts up to 1,000 riders to Ilkley to ride over sections of the Yorkshire countryside which will be used for the world’s greatest cycle race.

That is followed on Tuesday by the first-ever Ilkley Town Centre races, 24 hours before Otley puts on its annual spectacular.

Otley’s Lizzie Armistead heads the star cast at both Ilkley and Otley. Hugely popular, the World Cup leaders will be guaranteed good support.

The Otley organisers are expecting record crowds and they are quite literally drumming up support.

A drum band will march up Bondgate before the start of the Pinsent mason Otley Women’s Grand Prix where Armitstead will take on last year’s winner Elinor Barker, double Olympic champion Laura Trott and paralympian Dame Sarah Storey.

In the men’s Grand Prix, which will be started by five-times Tour de France winner Bernard Hinault, Russell Downing and Ed Clacy lead an impressive entry list.

Ilkley Cycling Club are hoping that their event will develop into a regular feature on the calendar.

There will be four separate races, catering for youth riders as well as the region’s top male and female riders, with up to 80 in each race.

Several overseas riders are visiting Yorkshire for the Grand Départ and are taking part.

Mathew Street and Robert Constantino (Foundation Cycling New York City) are travelling from the USA and Nathan Fox from Australia will also be taking part in the men’s race.

Brothers William and Nathan Draper are visiting from the Isle of Man and will be racing in the under-14s and junior categories respectively.

The men’s race will also be contested by Armitstead.

The organisers are expecting plenty of drama as the riders speed around the streets and they believe the event will bring benefits to the Town’s economy.

Refreshments will be available from the Ilkley Brewery pop-up bar, Lishman’s barbecue and crepe stall, as well as bars on the circuit. There will also be a prize draw with a £200 prize kindly donated by Lister Horsfall.

The top picks for the best spectator viewpoints include The Grove, where riders will be travelling at their top speed and sprinting for the line and Riddings Road where the riders will battle it out up the climb.

Equally exciting should be the foot of Wilton Road, where riders have to negotiate a high speed corner.

The challenging route has been approved by British Cycling and Bradford Council and it is expectated that there will be many visitors to the area who will watch the race.

Full details are available from the event website at www.ilkleycycler.

Ilkley timetable

16:45 The Grove is closed to traffic

17:00 Barriers set out around the circuit

1745 Cub Scouts’ Soapbox Derby on The Grove

18:30 – 18:50 Under 14s race (20 minutes)

19:00 – 19:30 Under 16s race (30 minutes)

19:40 – 20:20 Women’s race (40 minutes)

20:35 – 21:25 pm Men’s race (50 minutes)

21:30 Circuit re-opens (except The Grove)

21:40 Prize presentation

22:00 The Grove re-opens

Anyone living or working on the circuit with any questions before the races can contact event organiser Mike Firth for details at

Otley timetable

1730 Roads close

18:10 Pinsent Mason Otley Women’s GP

18:55 MAS Design Super Prestige Youth Race for U16s.

18:55 WGC Lanscapes Lads & Lasses race

1930 Chevin Cycles Classic Race

20:30 Property Development GP

21:30 Presentations