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Police and volunteers will be needed to keep millions of spectators safe - and it's not too late to sign up to help out...

All police officers in North Yorkshire have learned that their leave has been cancelled during the Tour de France Grand Départ this summer.

Policing the event, expected to draw millions of spectators to the county, will take all available manpower and draw on the experience of the Olympic Torch relay in 2012 to control the crowds and maintain safety and security.

Assistant Chief Constable Ken McIntosh, who is leading the police planning for North Yorkshire Police ahead of the 2014 Tour de France event, told the York Press: “The visit of the Tour de France is expected to draw a very large number of visitors to the county.

"As a result North Yorkshire Police has restricted leave applications between June 27 and July 11, 2014, for police officers, Police Community Support Officers and a range of police staff, while we examine the resourcing requirements for this prestigious event.”

As well as police, volunteers will be out in force to marshall the routes.

We reported last month how Asda, the supermarket chain based in Leeds, partnered with Welcome to Yorkshire to launch what they say is the first-ever ‘Tour Maker’ programme as the region prepares to host the Grand Départ of next July’s 101st edition of the race - and the deadline has been extended to later this month.

The scheme, which seeks to recruit 10,000 volunteers to help ensure next year’s Tour’s opening three days go smoothly and echoes the Games Makers who played such a big role in the success of last year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games in London, was formally launched by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg this afternoon.

The Liberal Democrat leader said: “You can already sense the buzz and excitement right across the country as we get ever closer to Yorkshire’s Grand Départ – and the launch of the Tour Makers and the public’s response to it already is evidence of that.

“The eyes of the world will be on Yorkshire when the peloton sets off from Leeds and spends two days racing around the county before finishing in Sheffield, and then racing from Cambridge to London.

“It promises to be an historic, spectacular event and really cements our nation as a global sporting leader.”

Applications to become a Tour Maker for any of the three stages in England can be made here – the deadline is 20 January. Roles might include meeting and greeting visitors at airports, or supporting the emergency services or National Park rangers.

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.