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"Lars Petter Nordhaug was a late addition and his presence strengthens the team. He was looking good in the Ardennes classics and will have good legs, and obviously Ben Swift will be right up for it in his home county."

Photo: Sirotti




30.04.2015 @ 22:11 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Sky sports director Rod Ellingworth is raring to get going at the Tour de Yorkshire and hopes the race will flourish on the back of last year’s unforgettable Tour de France Grand Depart.


Ellingworth was on the ground to witness one of British sport’s greatest-ever spectacles first hand last year, and will take the helm as Team Sky’s Sports Director this time around as we aim to make our mark on Yorkshire’s newest professional bike race.


On the eve of the inaugural edition, sat down to talk with him about his memories from last July, and to also get his thoughts on what promises to be three exciting days of action.



"People, people, people," he said when asked about his memories from the Tour. They were absolutely everywhere. I was in the reconnaissance car ahead of the race and I barely remember seeing any of the route because of the thousands and thousands of fans - I was more concerned with not knocking anyone over. 


"I was in the car with Sky Chief Executive Jeremy Darroch, and we couldn't believe the amount of fans that had turned out. It really was unbelievable. We were the first Team Sky car on the road that day, and the welcome we got was so warm. At times on the climbs we were actually brought to a standstill and everybody just wanted to pop their head through the door and say hello.



"It felt similar to the time I worked with Great Britain at the London Olympics road race. At the time it's so full on, and there is a pressure to perform in your own country, so it's hard to enjoy it. It's only when you look back on it that you realise what a great experience it was to be part of. There's so many people to catch up with at times like that, but you're so busy working it's just not possible. I remember passing some beautiful looking pubs at the Tour last year and thinking 'that's where I should be watching it', but it is what it is (laughs). 



"It's right up there with the London Olympics, the 2011 World Championships, some of the Track Worlds, and our two Tour de France wins in Paris. It was just unfortunate that it didn't precede us winning the race, because our memories would have made it even better still if that had happened. 


"Being part of the British cycling scene for so many years though, I'd never have imagined that we'd achieve all we've achieved, and having the Tour de France here was the icing on the cake. Having a top British team, with British riders in it, competing for a third successive win - all that was just unbelievable when you look back at where we came from."



Ellingworth is now looking forward to the Tour de Yorkshire.



"Yes, it should be good. I really hope the fans come out because it's always great to ride in front of them on our home roads. I've driven a lot of the route already and all the bikes they put at the side of the road last year have now been painted blue for this race, and there's just as many of them. There was also a house getting painted and it looks as though every village we've passed is doing something. Yorkshire is such a good place to have bike racing and it has such a rich history over the years gone by," he said.



"It's definitely an interesting route and it'll be intriguing to see how things turn out. Having a three-day race with three full stages is definitely a new concept and It'll be interesting to see how it's received and how the race unfurls.



"It's a good group of lads with a good mix of talent. We'll be in with a shout, that's for sure, because if we're not, we'll be in trouble (laughs). Lars Petter Nordhaug was a late addition and his presence strengthens the team. He was looking good in the Ardennes classics and will have good legs, and obviously Ben Swift will be right up for it in his home county. I'm really looking forward to it.



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