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Tykes and bikes: cycling Yorkshire’s World Championship route

Yorkshire folk have long known the region is brilliant for cycling – hosting the 2014 Tour de France just confirmed it. As it welcomes another world-class event, we road test three famous climbs

I have achieved a sort of cycling singularity. The UK cycling scene is obsessed with professional racing, hills, Yorkshire, social media – and pretentious coffee. And a couple of weeks ago, I set out to ride the undulating West and North Yorkshire route of the 2019 Road World Championships with a small-batch coffee roaster called Ben whom I’d met on Twitter.

Over the past five years, Yorkshire has become a global cycling destination. As Ben and I, and another Twitter acquaintance called Tom, rode out of Otley, north of Leeds, there were dozens of other riders heading out of town, up Wharfedale towards Bolton Abbey. None of them was in an organised group – just ones and twos, including quite a few children and teenagers.

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Holiday nightmare: big debts and bad luck push Thomas Cook to the brink

The tour operator’s banks are demanding £200m. Otherwise it will fail – leaving jobs at risk and customers stranded

For the second time in less than a decade, Thomas Cook is staring into the abyss, facing the prospect of its 178-year history coming to an ignominious close.

Just three weeks ago, the tour operator looked to have secured a £900m rescue package – half provided by Chinese tourism business Fosun, the rest by a mixture of banks and hedge funds. The debt-for-equity swap would wipe out of £1.7bn of loans, allowing the company to make its interest payments during the barren winter, when less cash comes in because bookings are low.

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