'Excited' Dame Sarah Storey meets fans on Tour de Yorkshire route
Paralympian Dame Sarah Storey has said she is "excited" to start her season with this weekend's Tour de Yorkshire as she met cycling fans along the route.
Dame Sarah will be competing for the biggest prize fund offered in a women's cycling race when she takes part in the event on Saturday.
The women's race will follow a 135km route from Otley, West Yorkshire, to Doncaster, South Yorkshire.
Last month, organisers announced a total prize fund of £50,000 to competitors, with £15,000 to the winner.
On Tuesday, Dame Sarah, who will race with her Podium Ambition Pro Cycling Powered By Club La Santa team, cycled parts of the route ahead of the event.
She said: "It was brilliant to spend today doing a thorough recon of the route for the Asda Women's Tour de Yorkshire race this weekend.
"I am excited to start my season here. I have chosen to wait until the middle of spring because there is so much racing for me this year and I want to still be firing on all cylinders in the autumn when we hopefully will be in Rio and Qatar."
Sir Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said: "We are delighted to welcome Dame Sarah back to Yorkshire once again.
"She is one of the greatest Paralympians of all time."
Dame Sarah, who has won 11 gold, eight silver and three bronze medals across six Paralympic Games, stopped off in the North Yorkshire villages of South Milford and Hillam to meet residents and children, who welcomed her with flags and banners.
Five-year-old Poppy Hotchkiss, from South Milford Community Primary School, said it was "amazing" to see the cyclist.
The women's race takes place on the second day of the Tour de Yorkshire.
The men's race begins in Beverley on Friday and ends in Scarborough on Sunday.
Towns and villages across the routes have been decorated in white, yellow and blue colours ahead of the race, which is being celebrated by communities with a host of events.