CYCLING fans in the Otley area will be able to cheer on the riders in next year’s Tour de Yorkshire.

Organisers Welcome to Yorkshire and Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) announced the full routes for the 2019 race at Leeds Civic Hall on Friday, December 7.

The Men’s event runs from Thursday, May 2 to Sunday, May 5 and starts with a 178.5km stage from Doncaster to Selby.

It will then pass through Bramhope, Pool-in-Wharfedale and Leathley during the 132km Stage 2 (May 3), Barnsley to Bedale section.

Stage 3 is another 132km stretch, from Bridlington to Scarborough, and then the Tour returns to Wharfedale for the final, Halifax to Leeds stage on May 5. Running to 175km, the concluding stage will see the riders pass through Blubberhouses and take on a King of the Mountain challenge on East Chevin Road, on Otley Chevin.

The 2019 Asda Tour de Yorkshire Women’s Race, meanwhile, takes place on May 3 and 4 and is being held on a Friday and Saturday for the first time. Both stages - Barnsley to Bedale and Bridlington to Scarborough - will be exactly the same as in the men’s event.

Chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, Sir Gary Verity, said: “We’re blessed with such a diversity of landscapes here in Yorkshire to create such challenging and exciting routes and we wanted the course to reflect that.

“There’s something for everyone; the sprinters will get their chance to shine while the classics specialists and climbers will also have opportunities to make their mark.

“With the UCI Road World Championships also taking place in Yorkshire next year, we’re expecting our strongest-ever field.

“I’m also proud that we’re continuing to lead the way when it comes to promoting women’s cycling. Changing the start of the women’s race from Thursday to Friday should guarantee greater exposure and the routes for the two stages are now exactly the same as the men’s.”

ASO’s Tour de France Director, Christian Prudhomme, added: “Once again the team at Welcome to Yorkshire have done a tremendous job in designing such a beautiful, challenging and varied route and I am looking forward to seeing how both races play out.”

The route announcement has been welcomed by Otley Town Council’s Chairman, Councillor Ray Georgeson (Lib Dem, Danefield). He said: “I’m delighted to see that Otley again features in the Tour de Yorkshire.

“The 2019 race will bring some extra excitement as the men’s race heads up the Cote de Otley Chevin towards the grand finale in Leeds.

“Otley’s cycling fans and community will no doubt turn out in force again to cheer them on, and the town council will certainly give them our usual warm welcome.”

This edition - the fifth - of the men’s race has been upgraded to ‘HC’ status (the highest possible for a multi-day race outside of the UCI World Tour.