I rode a good section of this route the week before stage 1. The canal route from Leeds station is excellent, but as described in the guide, gets progressively rougher. I diverted off before Rodley to visit Otley and Ilkley. After Bolton Abbey there is a lovely quiet route to Appletreewick by crossing the river Wharfe and through a gate, so avoiding the busy B6160 (see my route Leeds40Kw). I rejoined the Tour de Yorkshire at Grassington.
I rode back via Silsdon all the way to Leeds, about 35km off tow path. I was on 28 wheels but would have been happier on widers wheels. The route is currently all open, and indeed quite spectacular in places e.g. the locks. There is a really nice little tea house at Rodley with sheltered seating, which was handy in the rain on Friday afternoon.