Bike week: Chris Boardman's guide to this weekend's cycling

Cycling legend takes us on a tour of the Tour's first three days, with a guide to the best bits to ride yourself

In case you weren't aware, the Tour de France will be racing through Yorkshire this weekend before sprinting into London on Monday. We asked Chris Boardman, whose cycling CV includes Olympic gold, the yellow jersey and three world records, to talk us through the stages and the best bits to ride from each stage, which you can do using the Ordnance Survey's new OS Ride app. 

stage 1, sat 5 july: Leeds – Harrogate

"The Dales is all rolling hills, as the name suggests," says Chris, "so there's no specific feature that will define this stage. It will be an attritional day, and they'll have sore legs by the end of it for sure. I think we can expect to see a sprint finish, with the vast majority of the field coming in together for a huge spectacle. It's a beautiful part of the world, coming into the finish at Harrogate."

Cycle this bit: Leeds > Skipton, 53km

Though many riders extend the route all the way to Liverpool, this mostly traffic-free towpath cycle is a more sedate half-day ride. If you've still got energy in the tank, you can always head into the Dales. 

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Stage 2, Sun 6 July: York – Sheffield (198km)

"This is a much more mountainous stage than stage 1, so it's a different kind of challenge. This day is going to make the General Classification (GC) riders, the guys going for the overall win in the Tour de France, really nervous. They're going to use their team to look after them all day to make sure they're kept out of trouble. The race is really going to kick off at the biggest hill in the peak district Holme Moss in the second half of the race."

Cycle this bit: York > Addingham, 65km

Take a leisurely tour of York, gawping at Clifford's Tower and the River Ouse, before heading out into the Yorkshire countryside through to Knaresborough and the superbly-named Blubberhouses.

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Stage 3, Mon 7 July: Cambridge – London (159km)

"This stage is pretty flat", says Chris, "and it will almost certainly be a sprint finish. There are a lot of riders who know they can't win a sprint, though, so there'll be a lot of attacking at the start to try and get a break away. Then the responsibility will be with the sprint team to try to control the race and bring it back together for the finish in London. Hopefully we'll see Mark Cavendish taking a win on home soil."

Cycle this bit: Chelmsford > London (78km)

A 'Tour de Essex' might not sound glamorous, but this route heads from Chelmsford's busy asphalt down into Epping Forest and towards Buckingham Palace, where your imaginary roaring crowd awaits.

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