London, April 29 (IANS) Some world top cyclists have arrived in scenic northern England to take part in the 520-kilometer Tour de Yorkshire which starts on Friday.
The three-day event takes in some of Britain’s most scenic and tough terrain, with 18 teams of eight riders following a route covering all parts of Yorkshire county, reports Xinhua.
The race ends on Sunday with a dash across the North York Moors National Park to the seaside town of Scarborough where the finale takes place.
Along the route over the moorland a spectacular land art has been specially commissioned by the North York Moors National Park Authority.
The 70-meter long, 40-meter wide white painting will be beam to an expected six million television audience following the race across Europe.
The artwork incorporates a horse, a penny farthing cycle with a ram perched on its shoulders and a boar sitting aloft holding a telescope.
The artwork took the Landmark Collective, comprising artists Becky Newbould, Rob Conway, James Brunt, Timm Cleasby and Cath Smart 14 days to complete using 1,000 liters of white biodegradable pitch-marking paint that will fade over the coming months.
Park authority spokesman Richard Gunton said: “The land art will give millions of people watching the Tour de Yorkshire on television a view of the spectacular scenery that makes our National Park a real must-see.”
Leading men and women cyclists taking part include world and Olympic champions and world record holders, including more than 30 who have taken part in the world famous Tour de France race.
British cycling icon Sir Bradley Wiggins will celebrate his birthday in Yorkshire as he prepares for the race with his Team Wiggins teammates.
The event is expected to attract crowds running into hundreds of thousands lining the route as it takes in the famous Yorkshire Dales mountain stretches, as well as major tourist resorts in the county.
Last year the first ever Tour de Yorkshire attracted over 1.5 million spectators along the route, adding 50 million pounds to the local economy.
Sir Gary Verity, CEO of Welcome to Yorkshire, said “In just our second race we have attracted some incredible riders with great depth and experience, and I’m delighted with how many riders are making a return to Yorkshire from the 2014 Tour de France and 2015 Tour de Yorkshire.”
This year a separate women’s race is added, marking a turning point for women’s racing, added Verity.
Earlier this week parts of the route were under several centimeters of snow. The weather is expected to remained unsettled and wintry, but improved by the time the race starts.