The finale at UCI 2019: U23 hors d’oeuvres followed by the elite women and men

As we headed into the final weekend a single day of sunshine was sandwiched between two days of heavy rain. First came the rain and the men’s U23 race. We headed out to Cattal and got some action (it was only a short walk from the railway station) before the cyclists reached Harrogate.  Then we headed back into Harrogate on the train to see them take the last circuits of the town.

There was enough time to for me to walk to the start-finish straight on West Park and then get round to watch them come up Parliament Street for the last time.

The races all entered the Harrogate circuit on Ripon Road and that’s where we went on Saturday for the women’s elite event. We were blessed with some lovely sunshine. This dapper gentleman was enjoying the circuit on his vintage bicycle before the riders arrived. It was Annemieke van Vleuten who came in well ahead of the chasing peloton. They never caught her.

The last day had torrential rain that forced the route through the Yorkshire Dales to be shortened. We stood in the downpours on the Ripon Road hill where they came on to the circuit. You can imagine from the pictures what the conditions were like – I’m glad my camera and lenses are weather-sealed!

We dried out in a pub with a craft beer and some warm food whilst watching the race unfold on the big screen. It was a fitting end to a great week.

In the rain with the Juniors at the UCI Road World Championships 2019

It was wet at the World Championships, and sometimes very wet, pretty much what you would expect in late September. This caused some of the routes in the Yorkshire Dales to be adjusted and made the racing conditions much harder. We watched the juniors on the Harrogate circuit because all of the races ended there. It’s 14 kms long, twisty and hilly with plenty of exciting places to watch the cyclists go past you.

The Harrogate Circuit for UCI 2019

The Harrogate Circuit for UCI 2019

Profile of the Harrogate Circuit for UCI 2019

Profile of the Harrogate Circuit for UCI 2019

With the junior races it was easy to find a spot with a good clear view – at the weekend it was much harder as there were large crowds for the elite races.

Bystanders at the Road World Championships

Bystanders on Valley Drive

The junior ladies raced through rain showers. I found a good spot at the bottom corner of Parliament Street, about half a kilometre from the finish line, where they swung round the corner before heading up the hill to complete each circuit.

Just outside the Pump Room is also great place to watch. You get to see the racers cornering at speed either on Valley Drive or Crescent Road. That’s where I was for the junior men.