KEIGHLEY rider Tom Moses reckons next year’s expanded Tour de Yorkshire will provide an even better spectacle for cycling fans.

The fourth edition will feature four stages for the first time and he believes their varying levels of difficulty – featuring a good balance for climbers and sprinters – will create a more exciting race.

The second stage from Barnsley to Ilkley – culminating in the iconic climb to the summit finish at the Cow and Calf rocks – is sandwiched between what Moses expects to be easier legs, starting from Beverley to Doncaster on day one and going from Richmond to Scarborough on day three.

Like last year, the hardest stage is saved until last with the return of The Yorkshire Terrier, which runs from Halifax to Leeds and incorporates the Keighley district, including the cobbles of Haworth again and Moses’ home village of Oakworth.

Asked what he thought of the route, the JLT rider said: “It’s another good one and it is good that there are couple of easier stages rather than every one being an epic.

“I think it will make for better racing as when every stage is too hard it just becomes like a real slog.

“The one to Scarborough next year is nowhere near as hard as the usual one into there and there is also the one to Doncaster.

“They are designed to be sprint stages.”

With eight categorised climbs totalling more than 3,500 metres, this year’s final stage was known as the toughest in the history of the race.

With six ascents in the 2018 finale, including the Cote de Goose Eye, it promises to be punishing again but not quite as daunting according to Moses, who is sure to receive strong backing once more as a local lad.

He said: “The fourth stage is the hard one and it’s good to see it come through Oakworth and Haworth again. There were massive crowds last time so it should be the same.

“It’s similar in elevation and metres climb but I think it has a bit of an easier finish than last time so I don’t think it will be as decisive.”

Dimension Data’s Serge Pauwels won the third stage this year, and with it the overall race, after breaking clear of a reduced peloton as four tough climbs on the closing circuit stretched out the field.

But with an easier climax next year, Moses expects there to be a closer stage finish with more riders in contention.

He said: “This year it was all decided on that final stage but (next year) it’s not that bad after the (Otley) Chevin to Leeds.

“It is not that hard so I think there is a lot more chance it will come together. The last ten miles were ridiculous on that last day but next year it is nowhere near as hard.

“I think a fairly big group will still get to Leeds just because of the way races are ridden.”

Moses – who turns 26 on the day of the opening stage on May 3 – expects the battle in the overall general classification to go down to the wire as well, with the summit finish on day two in Ilkley having a big impact.

He said: “It will all be very close compared to other years because no one is going to put on a massive time gap up the Cow and Calf.

“You can’t really go much quicker than anyone else. Up a five-minute climb, no one is going to get a minute’s advantage over second place, so I think there will be everything still to play for on that last day. It should be a good final.”

Moses remains as impressed as ever by the numbers turning out to watch.

He said: “If you look at the crowds in the first week or so of the Tour de France they are nowhere near as big as in the Tour de Yorkshire.”

An estimated million people turned out for the final stage last April and as the county attracts ever more support, so the quality of the field continues to grow.

Mark Cavendish is the latest star name likely to be competing in Yorkshire next year and Moses reckoned he could be joined by another stellar rider – none other than reigning Tour de France and Vuelta champion Chris Froome.

He said: “All the big teams are sending all the top riders because it is a good race to do before the Tour de France.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if even Froome went – it’s that level of race and I wouldn’t be surprised if he turned up next year.”

Moses was speaking before yesterday’s drug test controversy involving Froome which has left him fighting for his career.