ILKLEY’S iconic Cow and Calf will be the setting for the Tour de Yorkshire’s first ever summit finish.

Images of the landmark will be viewed around the world on the second day of next year’s Tour.

The distinctive rocks and the surrounding landscape are seen as an ideal choice by the organisers of the event, which will take place for the fourth time.

And after announcing the 2018 route in Halifax yesterday event officials made their way to Ilkley to emphasise the importance of the town.

Speaking in the shadow of the famous rocks, Welcome to Yorkshire Chief Executive Sir Gary Verity said: “We have always wanted a summit finish for the Tour de Yorkshire – and what better place to do a summit finish than the iconic Yorkshire landscape of the Cow and Calf.

“Yorkshire is full of hills but there is nothing as iconic as the Cow and Calf.”

He said Ilkley was a strong supporter of cycling and of the Tour, and its cycling club was the biggest in the UK.

He is expecting impressive support again in 2018.

“You will see a massive crowd here from all over Yorkshire and all over the world,” he said.

Tour de France Director Christian Prudhomme said: “It will be the first time ever in the Yorkshire Tour that there will be a summit finish.”

He said the location had been chosen not just because of the very steep road, but also because of the landscape, which will appear on TV around the world.

“This outstanding scenery – it is just perfect,” he said.

Sir Gary and Mr Prudhomme were joined by the leader and chief executive of Bradford Council at the informal gathering to celebrate Ilkley’s important role in the 2018 Tour. Joining them were a number of youth groups, cycling groups, disability sport groups, businesspeople and schoolchildren.

Chief Executive Kersten England said the Tour was important in terms of civic pride, putting the area on the map and in encouraging the next generation of sportsmen and women.

She said crowds had filled villages and towns to watch the race last year.

Bradford Council leader Susan Hinchcliffe said: “Ilkley is going to be viewed all over the world. It can only benefit the visitor economy”.

Ilkley will be one of the eight host towns for the Tour.