MANY of the world's top cyclists will again be racing through Craven and the Keighley area in early May in next year's Tour de Yorkshire.

Fans are sure to turn out again in their thousands to see some of the sport's biggest names when the race passes through on stage four, a 175km route between Halifax and Leeds on Sunday, May 5.

The riders will race through Haworth, Oakworth and up the classified climb of 'Cote de Goose Eye', before going through Sutton-in-Craven, Glusburn, Cross Hills and Farnhill and into Skipton.

They will then go on to Embsay, Eastby, before another classified climb, the Cote de Barden Moor, and on to Barden, Burnsall, Threshfield, Kilnsey and Kettlewell. They will contest the first intermediate sprint near Kilnsey Crag before the peloton continues to Masham and into Nidderdale.

Stage one, on Thursday, May 2, is from Doncaster to Selby, followed by Barnsley to Bedale and Bridlington to Scarborough on the Friday and Saturday.

The top names will want to win what has become one of Europe's most prestigious cycling events since it was first run in 2015 as part of the legacy of the Tour de France start in Leeds the previous year.

And the top riders will also be looking to take their only chance to ride competitively on part of the circuit for the Road Race World Championships in Harrogate in September.

The two-day Women’s Race, in which Otley's Lizzie Deignan is sure to be a favourite, is on May 3 and 4, and for the first time stages will be exactly the same as those of the men's race on both days.

Sir Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said: “We’re blessed with such a diversity of landscapes here in Yorkshire to create such challenging and exciting routes and we wanted the parcours to reflect that, showcasing the county in all its glory. 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. This will be the only chance the riders get to sample the Harrogate circuit under race conditions before it, and the only chance they get to ride up Parliament Street against the usual flow of traffic.

“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. That means there’s over 1,000m more cumulative climbing than last year and we’ll be in for some enthralling racing.”