MY column last month took us from Ryedale, into the upper Derwent valley, through Dalby Forest and ended in Rosedale and that formed a part of stage one of last weekend’s three-day Tour de Yorkshire. Today, I’ll be looking at part of stage two.

Stage two, of 174km (109 miles), started in Selby, going west to Beverely, north to Norton, south west to Stamford Bridge and on to a circuit on the eastern outskirts of York, before the finishing sprint in Knavesmire Road, near the racecourse.

The brief from the editor was again to follow part of the route falling in Ryedale. So, I picked up the route about 15 miles beyond Beverley at Tibthorpe, on the Yorkshire Wolds.

The riders will have completed 68km (approx 43 miles) of racing at Tibthorpe. I, on the other hand was dropped off by the team vehicle at the village hall, on the western side of the high street.

It was safe to stop here for 15 minutes or so to assemble the bike, but if you are seeking to leave a car for any length of time, there’s a lay-by about one mile north of the village, on the B1248, at grid reference SE957567.

Start by heading north out of Tibthorpe, pass the lay-by on the right and then a gentle descent to the village of Wetwang. I use the term descent loosely. On March 27, there was quite a breeze from the north to counteract the loss of height that will speed the racers towards Wetwang.

Meeting the A166, turn left and proceed through the village on the main road. A speed limit keeps motorised traffic in check, although I did have to watch out for ducks. In Wetwang, there was a sprint for the Tour riders – a race within the main race.

Just beyond Wetwang, the race route turns right, on to the B1248 towards Malton. An easy mile or so follows.

Then watch out for the railway carriage and small diesel locomotive just off to the right, this is the Yorkshire Wolds Railway. The long-term objective is to lay some track, but it’s early days yet. Just beyond however, you’ll see a car park entrance on the left, and a café situated in a log cabin.

This is the site of the original station serving the village of Fimber, to the west. Much frequented by motorcyclists of a certain age, I paused to admire the Nortons and Triumphs parked up. A motorcyclist returned the compliment by similarly admiring my 1976 Jack Taylor bicycle. Vintage machinery must be a man thing.

I was only about five miles into the ride, but couldn’t resist sitting in the spring sunshine and enjoying a mug of coffee and a sausage roll, all for a very reasonable £2.

I also picked up a leaflet about the railway and there’s a display board explaining some of the history. Apparently, the line followed the contours, which was a cheaper method of construction as compared to the cost of cuttings and tunnels. In practise, this meant the line often avoided the villages it was meant to serve. The route became known as the Malton Dodger.

I was probably also avoiding what I needed to do next. That was to tackle the climb, billed as the Cote de Fimber in the race programme. These named climbs within the race route also form a separate competition in the main race.

So, it was left out of the car park, straight on over a roundabout, and the climb begins immediately. From 73 metres altitude at the roundabout, straight up to a crossroads at about 170 metres, or 100 metres of altitude gain within one-and-a-quarter miles.

And that’s not yet the top; it just gets a bit easier here. The climb carries on, but at least I’ve stopped wheezing now, reaching the top at about 210 metres altitude, crossing the county boundary back into North Yorkshire. I had climbed at about 7mph.

As at the beginning of the day, I was now riding on the top of the Wold, with panoramic views around Malton and Norton in the distance. This section is very exposed to the wind, and team tactics no doubt came into play.

The road surface, though good, does end abruptly at the left-hand edge, falling a few inches to the grass verge below. Riders in any large group will need to be vigilant and not be literally pushed from the road, as others jockey for position.

I pick up speed on the straight descent to the village of Wharramle- Street, where the limit is 40mph and my own 32mph is quite exciting enough, thank you very much.

A gentle climb out of the village is quickly followed by a 14 per cent down, as I reach the edge of the Wold. The B1253 joins from the right and I need to scrub off some speed here as a second 14 per cent down hill is quickly upon me and the road is now taking a serious right-hand curve.

Bottoming out at the village of North Grimston, I notice the long disused railway embankment across a field to the left and then cross the old railway on a very gently raised bridge. This is the old Malton Dodger line, seen earlier at Fimber.

Norton and Malton are now only a few miles ahead. The headwind is easier now, with the reduction in altitude, and I have time to take in the view of the racehorse training gallops to the left and extensive stables to the right as I approach.

Norton was billed in the Tour de Yorkshire itinerary as the official feed zone. Team helpers handed out bags of food and drink to the riders who will slow their pace from the more usual 25mph plus, to perhaps 20mph.

Racing etiquette is not to “attack”

other teams during this procedure.

I didn’t need to worry about any attacks. On the contrary, I made an appropriate feed stop myself, outside Barney’s Sarnies in Beverley Road.

The road splits here at a miniroundabout and the race route is right, on to Mill Street, then ahead to a T-junction and then left on to Commercial Street.

Continue straight ahead passing the Derwent Arms on the left and when reaching (just before) the level crossing gates, go left on to Welham Road, signed Stamford Bridge 12 miles.

Earlier in the day I’d been troubled by the headwind. Now it was the relentless dips up and down which may have potentially caused some splits in the Tour de Yorkshire race peloton.

The route is now running diagonally south west. Roughly parallel to the course of the River Derwent (which also runs down to Stamford Bridge from here) and which is off to your right. To the left of the road is the looming bulk of the Wolds.

At right angles to the road, flowing from left to right and downhill towards the Derwent, are numerous streams – Menthorpe Beck, Mill Beck, Howle Beck, Whitecarr Beck and Swallowpits Beck come at regular intervals, so the route descends for half-a-mile to each stream and then climbs another half a mile to the next watershed.

Navigation on this stretch is easy too. Just keep straight ahead, watching as the miles count down to Stamford Bridge on the finger posts. There was a slight temptation from a sign to the pub at Westow, off on the right.

Later, a similar temptation to the pub at Acklam on the left.

Cresting a final rise, you’ll see the Georgian house at Aldby Park, (built 1726) to the right. Slow the pace here as there’s a decision to make. The actual race route took a junction to the left, signed as Stamford Bridge, avoiding the narrow bridge at the village of Buttercrambe, straight ahead.

So if seeking to relive the conditions of the race, take this left, then ahead for one-and-a-quater miles to meet the A166. Right on to the main road, and straight through the centre of Stamford Bridge. About two-and-a-half miles beyond town, watch for a sign to Holtby on the right.

On my ride I didn’t have the pleasure of rolling road closures and nor will you. So I propose a small deviation away from, but parallel to the A166, in the interests of safety and (in my opinion), to follow a much more scenic route. We’ll rejoin the race route just north of Holtby, where the race left the A166 again.

So, instead of taking the left turn to avoid Buttercrambe, keep straight on over the Georgian bridge across the River Derwent. There are actually two bridges here, first across the river and second across the mill-race. Take time to pause and admire the view. The Tour sadly missed all this.

Continue through Buttercrambe village, passing the gatehouse to Aldby Park on the right. In one-and-a-half miles, pass (and ignore) a turn on the right (in woodland) to Sand Hutton.

Shortly after you’ll see a road off to the left signed Stamford Bridge threequarters mile. Ignore that too, but continue instead straight ahead as before (unsigned on my recent visit) to then find and take a single track road off to the right to Upper Helmsley, (three-quarters of a mile).

Arriving at Upper Helmsley, left at T-junction, direction York, over a disused railway bridge and immediately right.

Go left at the next T-junction, through Warthill and watch for the small road on the right, marked Local Traffic Only, as you leave the village. Take this quiet single track road and stop to gather your bearings at the next T-junction. Here we meet the race route again.

To your left is the village of Holtby, where the race has left the A166 and from where the race will approach your current location.

To your right, (signed York four miles) we are now back on the race route. Go ahead, in the direction of York, for two-thirds of a mile, then left signed Murton. You’ll probably be thinking, as I did, that this is quite a small road for a large race. You’ll be right.

Into Murton, past the Bay Horse on the right, then take the next right, which passes under the A64 York ring road, and into Osbaldwick, a suburb of York. From here, the race continuesd into York centre, passing the Knavesmire racecourse and the Minster, before coming back out again on the A1036 in a north easterly direction. Then turning right (south) again to Murton. The race then repeated a second lap of this circuit.

Leaving Osbaldwick for the third time, the race continued into the city centre to finish outside York racecourse.

I decide to give the city centre a miss, and on approaching Osbaldwick for the first time, take the first road on the left which brings you to a set of lights on the A1079 Hull Road.

Join the cycle path left (direction East, out of the city) to the next set of lights just 200 yards further on.

Use the Toucan crossing here to get to the south side of the A1079 and the Grimston Bar Park & Ride. If you’ve planned ahead, this is a good place to end the day and meet up again with the team driver who has been into town for some retail therapy.

Alternatively, you may also consider a rendezvous at the Yorkshire Museum of Farming, located on the southern edge of Murton village.


Ordnance Survey Landranger. Numbers 100 Malton & Pickering, and 106 Market Weighton.

There is a very short stretch of the B1248 in the vicinity of the Cote de Fimber climb, which isn’t covered by either map. Don’t worry about this, as you can’t go wrong as long as you keep on the B1248 towards Malton.


My race simulation mode required that I dispense with my customary ale stop. However, there’s lots to choose from in Norton.


1976 Jack Taylor, Tour of Britain model. Hand built in Stockton.


Grimston Bar park&ride A1079 Hull Road, York.


35 miles (avoiding A166 Stamford Bridge and finishing at Grimston Bar park&ride).