On Sunday, May 3rd luxury Italian carmaker Maserati sponsored the Tour de Yorkshire, an amateur cycling event designed to mimic some of the legendary conditions of professional cycling’s most famous race, the Tour de France. Riders were given the rare opportunity to cycle 55km, 108km and 142km routes nearly identical to those of the Grand Départ a year ago.
In the face of torrential rain and generally unfavourable weather conditions, nearly 6,000 amateur cyclists decided to try their luck on roads traditionally preserved for those at the highest levels of the sport. H.R. Owen was well-represented at the event by a team of hardy souls including Paul King from Lamborghini Service London, Tom Bolan and Ian Cunningham from Maserati St Albans and Leigh De Souza from Maserati London.
“We were all soaked through before we arrived at the start,” said Ian Cunningham, “the roads were awash with water and debris.” Despite the harsh conditions, the team performed admirably with one member – Leigh De Souza – even going so far as to ride the 108km leg!
By all accounts, kilometres 30 through 55 were the hardest of the race. For 25km, riders climbed non-stop while taking rain and wind on the chin. The most gruelling portion of this stretch – aptly titled “Hell of the North” – was a near-vertical climb where many riders found themselves forced to dismount and push their bikes up to the peak.
To make the race a bit more bearable in the face of such atrocious weather, Maserati set up a number of elegant and strategically placed “fuel stations” where riders could break for well-deserved food and warmth.
As well-received as the Maserati feed stations were, the biggest kudos of the day has to be given to the people of Yorkshire for their encouraging words, gracious cheers and sunny-dispositions which helped to brighten an otherwise bleak day.
To view additional highlights of the race, please click here.