A SERIES of roadshows is planned as the countdown begins in earnest to this year’s Tour de Yorkshire.

Details have been released of the first of more than 50 events planned to help people prepare for the acclaimed cycle race, which attracts riders from across the world.

During the four days of the Tour, between May 2 and 5, the event will visit 150 towns and villages.

Sixty feature on the route for the first time.

The fourth stage – on May 5 – takes in Haworth, Oakworth and the classified climb of Cote de Goose Eye, before heading to Sutton, Glusburn, Cross Hills, Farnhill and into Skipton.

Roadshow teams will explain raceday arrangements, answer questions and advise businesses and communities on utilising benefits from the extravaganza.

Topics covered will include the caravan – which arrives ahead of the cyclists, distributing goodies – and land art and ‘best dressed’ competitions.

Last year, an estimated 2.2 million people lined the route of the race, and the event was watched by about ten million people in 190 countries worldwide.

Many businesses in areas visited by the Tour reported increased customer numbers and higher-than-usual sales.

Sir Gary Verity – chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, which organises the event with the Amaury Sport Organisation – said it was important that people were helped to derive as much benefit as possible from the spectacle.

He added: “The Tour de Yorkshire is so much more than a bike race and each year I’m impressed to see the lengths communities go to, to celebrate the event and give the riders an amazing welcome.

“The roadshows are the perfect way to get all the information you need to make the most of the race, whether you are a business, school or community group or simply a resident living near the route.”

More details of the roadshows can be found at letour.yorkshire.com/information/roadshows.

The race was launched in 2015 as a legacy of the Tour de France Grand Depart the previous year.

In addition to the men’s event, there is an Asda Tour de Yorkshire women’s race.

Star riders set to compete this year include four-times Tour de France winner Chris Froome.

Team Sky says Froome, who has been Grand Tour Champion six times, has announced his race calendar for the year and a return to Yorkshire is high on the agenda.

“Yorkshire hosted the start of the Tour de France a few years ago and the atmosphere was just incredible,” he said.

“The Tour de Yorkshire has been growing year on year and I’d love to get out there this year.”

Team Sky has also revealed that the 33-year-old hopes to be a part of the UCI Road World Championships in Yorkshire in September, where he’ll race for Great Britain along with reigning Tour de France champion Geraint Thomas.

Sir Gary said: “Both Chris and Geraint raced in Yorkshire when we hosted the Grand Depart of the Tour de France, so have first-hand experience of the incredible crowds and carnival atmosphere here.

“They’ll be guaranteed the biggest of Yorkshire welcomes for the Tour de Yorkshire and the UCI Road World Championships and we can’t wait to see them race on our county’s roads.”

Day four of the Tour de Yorkshire, when the race comes to this area, begins at the Grade I-listed Piece Hall in Halifax.

Riders will head north out of Halifax for the 175km stage, and in Haworth will climb the village’s famous Main Street.

The first categorised climb is the Cote de Goose Eye.

“This 1.5km climb has an average gradient of ten per cent but the early ramps surpass 20 per cent in places – it will no doubt prove an early test after three tough days in the saddle,” said a spokesman.

The day’s second categorised climb is the Cote de Barden Moor, which although only 1km long, still has an average of nearly ten per cent.

Riders then head through the Yorkshire Dales before dropping into Otley and taking on the stage’s final climb, the Cote de Otley Chevin.

They will then continue to Leeds, for the finish on The Headrow.

For more details, visit letouryorkshire.com.