The official countdown to the Tour de France’s Grand Depart in England has begun. Yesterday (27 March) marked 100 days until the first stage.
In London, Boris Johnson unveiled 101 yellow Barclay’s ‘Boris’ bicycles dotted throughout the capital to celebrate the 101st edition of the Tour de France. Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg headed to the Harrogate International Centre (HIC) to celebrate the countdown.
Organised by Welcome to Yorkshire, the event welcomed 2,000 delegates and culminated with the announcement of a brand new international cycle race and festival planned for May 2015.
“The announcement of a major new annual cycling event for Yorkshire, attracting the biggest stars of the sport, would be a great legacy of the Tour de France for our region,” said Simon Kent, HIC director.
Cultural events throughout Yorkshire are planned throughout the 100 days leading up to the Grand Depart on 5 July. Clegg expressed his surprise at the enthusiasm for the Tour de France, which he described as a ‘thrilling event for Yorkshire.’
Stars of cycling were on hand at HIC to mark the occasion: Five-time Tour winner Bernard Hinault and Brian Robinson, the first English rider to win a Tour stage, were presented with commemorative Yorkshire Grand Depart shirts by sport presenter Rob Walker.
Sir Bradley Wiggins was there in spirit, delivering a specially recorded message to the audience at HIC. “We know you won’t let us down,” he told organisers. “It will be a Grand Depart to remember.”
HIC will double as the media centre during the Grand Depart.
The Tour de France rides from Leeds to Harrogate on 5 July, from York to Sheffield on 6 July and from Cambridge to London, finishing on The Mall in front of Buckingham Palace, on 7 July.
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