FOR those cyclists itching to get in the saddle on the Tour de Yorkshire weekend, general entries are open to the Tour de Yorkshire Ride sportive.

Sportives – mid-distance, organised cycling events – are growing in popularity, and this has been named as one of the most keenly-anticipated in the country.

The ride takes place on Sunday, May 1, and riders can choose from three distances. The long route, 119km, and the medium route, 85km, both meander from Scarborough into Ryedale, passing through Thornton-le-Dale and Dalby Forest. The short route, at 40km, forms a loop nearer the coast.

The organisers, ASO, Human Race and Welcome to Yorkshire, have released maps and elevation graphics of the distances to help riders pick their route. There will be a number of climbs with a total elevation of 1,620 metres on the long route, 1,312m on the medium and 553m on the short.

To tie in with Stage Three of the Tour, the ride starts in Scarborough. Crowds filled the town’s North Bay last May to cheer on some of the world’s best professional riders, including Sir Bradley Wiggins, and the crowds are expected to return to watch the climax of this year’s Tour, which will mean that as sportive riders cross the same finish line they will be cheered on by spectators already there and waiting for the pro race.

Organisers are also hoping visitors will stick around for the weekend.

Sir Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire said: “The Maserati Tour de Yorkshire Ride offers a beautiful landscape, a real sporting challenge and the chance to cross the same finish line as the pro racers.”

and I’m sure it will be an unforgettable day. I’d encourage riders to take the opportunity to make the most of Yorkshire’s beautiful coast and moors and stay for a few days - there really is something for everyone in this area of the county.”

Sponsored by Italian car manufacturer Maserati, the ride includes mechanical support, medical support, energy products at fully-stocked feed stations, electronic chip timing, an immediate result text and a finisher’s medal. Roads will not be closed for the event.

Guaranteed entry places are closed, and all those who entered the ballot have been notified. General entry places are now available, at 2015 prices. Details at