Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka return to the Tour de Yorkshire looking to draw on their fond memories of 2017 as inspiration in the 2018 edition of the event.
Last year Serge Pauwels won the race; with the iconic image of the Belgian and then teammate Omar Fraile crossing the finish line on stage 3, arms aloft, in a memorable 1-2. It was one of the team’s great memories of 2017.
Fast-forward to 2018 and Pauwels is returning to defend his title in a race that’s had an extra stage added to it. That change also now likely sees opportunities for the sprinters and so Mark Cavendish will make his bow in the event, in his first race since crashing out in the final stages of Milan-Sanremo.
Also included in our line-up is Mark Renshaw, himself having recently recovered from surgery, as well as Julien Vermote. The Belgian had been in promising form but has struggled since dislocating his shoulder twice during the Tour of Flanders, having been struck by a car in the convoy. While Jay Thomson, Nic Dougall and Scott Davies complete a powerful line-up for our African Team.
It’s a team that will back itself on a course that promises huge crowds in a region that has seen the sport reach stratospheric heights, largely thanks to the Tour de France Grand Depart in 2014.
With Pauwels looking for a repeat in the GC, stage two will likely play a key role in perhaps determining the overall race winner. The 149kms from Barnsley to Ilkley features a hilltop finish on renowned Cow and Calf hill. An interested spectator, and who will be providing the team with ‘local knowledge’, is Scott Thwaites who is from the immediate area but who is currently out injured.
The fourth, and final, stage is also a challenging affair at just under 190km from Halifax and will see the race winner confirmed in Leeds.
Cavendish will be hoping to strike an early success on the 182km from Beverley to Doncaster with the race expected to conclude in a bunch finish. While stage 3, finishing along the coast in Scarbourough, will likely provide another opportunity for the Manxman to push for a stage win and get his season firmly back on track.
Serge Pauwels – Rider
This year the race is one extra day (stage) compared to last year’s edition but that in itself doesn’t really change a lot. On the second day there will be an uphill finish which might actually change the dynamics of the race a little bit.
I’m really excited for this year’s edition, obviously wearing the number 1 is something really special. I’m really keen and motivated to defend my title and I also think that in the flat stages we can do something special with Mark coming back after his injuries. We’re very excited with this year’s edition and we’re going to give it our best go.
Cover image explained
The Yorkshire Bonk Bag
In 1951, a group of renegade Yorkshire cyclists from Hull formed the Kingston Coureurs; outlawed by the major governing bodies of British cycle racing because of their avant-garde approach to the sport .
The Coureurs instigated the use of bonk bags (musettes), rode bikes without mudguards and saddlebags, wore bright colours and they stuffed their back pockets with food; practises very much against the norm.
In admiration of their bold spirit and livery, our bonk bag includes a bright illustration of Cow and Calf Rocks outside Ilkley; the site of the finish of stage 2, which is sure to light up the general classification.