Category Archives: TOUR DE FRANCE

TOUR DE FRANCE A-LA YORKSHIRE

All along the route of the two stages of the Tour de France Grand depart are places to stay and enjoy the hospitality of the people of Yorkshire.

Chris Boardman, former Olympic Champion race cyclist and World Record holder has been along the route and believes that these will tax even the best of the riders in the race this weekend.

Stage 1 – Leeds to Harrogate – 190km

Whilst the French (and probably most of the riders) believe that the Yorkshire leg is going to be an easy one is in for a bit of a lesson. Stage one is alleged to be a brilliant one for the sprinters so we are fortunate to have team GB super-sprinter Mark Cavendish to hand to take the baton for the UK.

The Tour de France caravan – a procession of floats and vehicles that hand out souvenirs and other freebies to the crowds – will set off from the Headrow, opposite Leeds Art Gallery, at 9.10am.

Two hours later, the teams will begin the race from the same location in the City Centre of Leeds and runs deep into the Yorkshire Dales taking in some of the most picturesque villages along the route.

The residents have all been beavering away for weeks preparing for the massive influx of visitors including a huge sheep painted on the roadway so that the helicopters can see them!

There are literally hundreds of camp-sites, viewing areas and hubs all over the County so take advantage of them, get along and see all of the race on the big screen once they have passed your area.

Stage 2 – York to Sheffield – 201km

Day two sees the second stage get under way taking the riders from York to Sheffield on a gruelling 201km ride.

Again, as detailed in a recent report by Chris Boardman, where the competitors may have thought that the speedy first leg played to the individual rider this is most definitely going to test them to the core.

The Peak District is likely to show a few breakaways as they take on some very heavy roads and short but very steep climbs en route and the final 5km is certainly going to see the boys separated from the men but this can also impact on the team results so they are going to have to keep an eye on all their team members.

The Tour de France was created in 1903 and was initially a 5-stage race held over a considerable 5 week period from the end of May through to the end of the first week of July.

The format changed into a multiple stage team event in 1930 when teams represented their countries. At this point, the costs of accommodating all the riders was borne by the contestants themselves but this marked a change to a new era where advertising is king and the publicity ‘caravan’ came to the fore.

Le Tour’s now World famous publicity caravan is now a 180 vehicle procession of elaborate floats that will be passing through both of the Yorkshire stages around 2 hours before the riders pass through.

Amongst the ‘freebies’ which will be passed out to the masses are some 60,000 packets of Haribo sweeties from Pontefract and 5 million tea bags from Taylors of Harrogate (there’s nowt better than a nice cuppa tea – eyup!)

It is also traditional for there to be some chalk graffiti on the roads including a number of notices like ‘ey-up T de F’ on Penistone Road (Sheffield leg) and a Union Jack pn the Grinton Moor stretch of the road race. One farmer has even coloured his little flock of sheep in the jersey colours – just when you thought you had seen it all. When asked about whether the sheep were disturbed by the colours, the lambs had experienced some difficulties in identifying their mum but a couple of bleats later and they were back on track.

It is a once in a lifetime event so lets show our support to team GB and if you would like some fireworks for the late evening entertainment, get in touch with us.

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THE TOUR DE FRANCE 2014. STAGE 1.

The world and his granny have been waiting for the start of the 2014 Tour De France as for the first time in the event’s history the race will begin in our neck of the woods.

The Tour De France has been featured in the South of the UK a number of times but we are fortunate enough to have the race take place on the beautiful roadways around our region.

Day 1 of the Grand Depart leaves the beautiful and cosmopolitan City of Leeds on July 5th ahead of the riders 190km gruelling ride to the spa town of Harrogate on the first leg. Taking in the towns and villages along this beautiful journey of 190km before Day 2 sets off from York on Sunday 6th July.

Some of the Towns and Villages are:

Ilkley – Its magnificent countryside and the Cow and Calf rocks makes this area a must for rock climbers across the UK.

Skipton – a 900 year old castle and historic (yet painful for the cyclists I would have thought) cobbled High Street.

West Tanfield – this lovely village features a mention in the Doomsday book and houses one of the UK’s oldest and prettiest buildings – the 13th century church of St Nicholas and the Marmion Tower, a 15th century gatehouse of special historical significance because of its architecture.

Harewood – home to the stunning Harewood House, built in the mid 1700’s the house and grounds are holding a full on family entertainment spectacular. As the official ‘Ceremonial Start’ of the TDF, the Yorkshire Festival of Cycling has a HUGE programme of events including live music, theatre, the indomitable Red Arrows display team and there is even an army assault course and go-karting.

Middleham – The area records show that the first settlements were of the Roman Empire in 69AD. The building of Middleham Castle was started in 1190 and the town has many historical buildings dotted around the town including a medieval cross topped with a celtic cross. Well worth a visit.

Aysgarth – A beautiful village within the Yorkshire Dales National Park which again featured in the Doomsday Book of 1086 which essentially was an audit and a census of all the landowners, their property, land and livestock figures as commissioned by William the Conqueror. Aysgarth Falls and the stepping-stones in the River Ure were the location of the filming for the movie ‘Robin Hood – Prince of Thieves’ with Kevin Costner.

Kettlewell – an absolutely charming little village which is quintessentially ‘British’ offering visitors stunning views, picturesque terraces and quiet country lanes. This gorgeous place was also the location for the filming of ‘Calendar Girls’ a film about the fundraising efforts of the local Womens Institute and their decision to create a ‘nude’ calendar to raise funds for a soca for the hospice to be dedicated to one of the members husband’s who had passed away from non-hodgkin lymphoma.

There are of course spectator hubs all the way along the route where you can join with family and friends to make a full weekend of it with camp sites, large screens showing the race as it winds along the countryside of Yorkshire and food concessions. Details of all of these can be found online.

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