ILKLEY’S famous Cow and Calf rocks will be the setting for the first summit stage finish in the Tour de Yorkshire’s history.

Images of the landmark will be viewed around the world on the second day of next year’s four-day long Tour which starts on Thursday, May 3.

The finish on Ilkley Moor is seen as an ideal choice by the organisers of the race, which is taking 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 huge 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 Bradford Council's chief executive Kersten England and its leader Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe at the beauty spot alongside youth groups, cycling groups, disability sport groups, businesspeople and schoolchildren.

Ms 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 across the district to watch the race last year.

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


Ilkley is one of the eight host towns for the 2018 Tour.

On Friday, May 4, the riders will start in Barnsley for the 92-mile (149km) long stage which also takes in a steep climb up Old Pool Bank into Otley before they head for the finish in Ilkley.

The district also features in the fourth and final stage on Sunday, May 6, from Halifax to Leeds with the race passing through Haworth, Skipton, the Yorkshire Dales and back into Otley before the race ends in Leeds city centre.