Yorkshire has a new cycling hero – and Harry Tanfield can’t quite believe it. Never before had a local won a Tour de Yorkshire stage but with one superb breakaway and one big push to the line, this 23-year-old from Great Ayton had the Doncaster crowd rocking, to take stage 1 of the Tour de Yorkshire 2018.
Tipped as possessing a bright future, it was the present where Tanfield showed his capabilities – part of a six-strong breakaway that seized an early advantage and never looked back.
The Canyon Eisberg rider was convinced he would get caught, especially with hands aloft ten metres out, but the risk was worth it – the Yorkshire Bank and Yorkshire Bank Bike Libraries leader’s jersey was his.
But that wasn’t all.
With the points and most active rider jerseys now also part of his collection, Tanfield has a problem he never dreamt he would face when setting off from Beverley.
“I’ve won all these jerseys and it’s a shame I don’t get to wear them. But the leader’s one trumps them all. I’m going to have a nice selection on the wall, that’s for sure.
“It hasn’t sunk in. Going over the finish line, I didn’t know whether to celebrate or not – I thought I’d gone a bit early and hadn’t known how much I’d won by.
“It’s just amazing, I never dreamt that this would happen. Everyone committed and in the end it was just a solid day out – I can’t believe I pulled it off. The support was really good all the way around, it was three or four people deep in the last few kilometres so there must have been a few thousand people watching it.
“I think the whole of Doncaster and Yorkshire has got behind the event which is fantastic.”
Arguably Tanfield’s biggest achievement of the day came from stealing the limelight from Mark Cavendish, the Manx Missile returning from injury to rapturous acclaim.
The mass huddle outside his team bus at the finish line told you that.
But even Cav can’t always write the perfect fairytale, crossing the line with the bunch in a race he knew he wasn’t destined to win, though three stages still remain for the Team Dimension Data rider;
“I didn’t catch them – that’s it. Sometimes you do, sometimes you don’t – that’s what can happen. It’s not often a break stays away nowadays but when they all commit like that they’re going to, so fair play to them.”
Meanwhile the ASDA Tour de Yorkshire Women’s race had a familiar feel about it as Kirsten Wild crossed the line first in Doncaster – exactly has she did two years ago.
In this historic year – the first with two stages for the women’s race – the flat 82-mile route ensured a bunch sprint would be in store, with Wild’s Wiggle High5 team doing the job to allow the Dutchwoman to take the win.
But with the second stage starting in Barnsley and ending on a summit for the first time – Ilkley’s Cow & Calf – Wild’s racing is only just beginning.
“I feel really happy, especially because my team gave me the opportunity to sprint here, they really worked for it and made it even more exciting. It’s a high-level race and a high-level peloton in which to win.
“Racing in the UK is really nice, the people are so enthusiastic next to the road, there are so many people – even when we start at eight in the morning, it’s really nice.”
Yorkshire Bank is an Official Partner of the Tour de Yorkshire and the ground-breaking Yorkshire Bank Bike Libraries initiative. Visit www.ybonline.co.uk/tdy
Thanks to Ross Lawson, Sportsbeat