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Tour de Yorkshire in Settle: an amateur's eye-view

Stray FM presenter - and cycling nut - Chris Dean thought he'd see what the professionals are in for when the Tour de Yorkshire hits the Dales on Friday.

Friday's opening stage of the 2016 Tour de Yorkshire will remind the world why the Dales is the perfect backdrop for an international cycle race.

Unlike two years ago, when the Tour de France witnessed epic battles over climbs like Grinton Moor and Buttertubs Pass, this year, the Grand Départ's offshoot event will see the peloton taking a different route through the National Park.

Instead of heading north, this time the Tour will journey east to west, passing previously untapped areas like Pateley Bridge and Gargrave before a finish in the beautiful market town of Settle.

Stray FM's new mid-morning presenter Chris Dean (@strayfmchris) fancies himself as a bit of a cyclist, so we decided to send him down to try the route for himself.

(Note, despite wearing a Team Sky jersey, Chris is most definitely NOT a paid-up member of the British-based team!)

Where the action will happen on Friday

Here are his thoughts:

"I am a cycling geek. To my mind, it's the complete sport - tactics, romance, skill and mind-numbing, freakish levels of physical sacrifice.  

"It may seem like lots of painfully skinny men going for a ride, but there is so much going on when you get into it. 

"But first and foremost, a professional bike race is an amazing spectacle. 

"It is one of the greatest events in the world. 

"If you watched the Tour de France come by, you’ll know what I mean."

"For a cycling geek or for a first time 'let's see what the fuss is?, seeing the helicopter that follows the lead riders come into view over the horizon will genuinely make you giddy.

"The colours, the noise, the anticipation, the crowds all there for a good time."

Climbers attach Settle's 'Hollywood' letters to the top of Castleberg

"Stage 1 starts in Beverley and enters our patch at Wetherby, going through Knaresborough, Ripley, Pateley Bridge, Gargrave and finishing in the beautiful market town of Settle. 

"So last week, I got my Lycra on and rode the back half of the route, to see what it is like for a 16-stone amateur.

"It's tough. Greenhow Hill out of Pateley Bridge is long and goes up, and up and up. And up.

"My predictions? Oh, I have two. 

"Prediction one - it will be a bunch sprint finish into Settle. 

"But the road narrows once you come off the A65 and there are a couple of downhill kinks in the road at the most narrow sections 200 yards from the line. 

"Let's hope we don’t see a repeat of Mark Cavendish's crash outside Bettys at the finish of the Tour de France.

"Prediction two - it is going to be a great couple of days, with a great sense of community and fun. 

"If you are near the route, at the very least just poke your head out of the window to have a look. 

"Trust me, you’ll regret it if you don’t."

The route - Stage 1 from Beverley to Settle: letour.yorkshire.com/stage-1/map