Organisers of July’s Tour de France Grand Départ have completed the recruitment of 12,000 volunteers to help ensure the event runs smoothly during its visit to Britain.
Millions of spectators are expected to line the roadside for the first two days of racing in Yorkshire, beginning on Saturday 5 July, followed by Stage 3 from Cambridge to London.
It’s the first time that a dedicated force of volunteers has been recruited to work on a Grand Départ, with the initiative modelled on the success of the Games Makers at London 2012.
One successful applicant, Becky Clarke from Bingley, said: “It’s really so exciting and a great privilege – I’m very chuffed!
“It was a bit worrying waiting to hear, but now I just can’t wait to get started.
“This really is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
She added: I’ve watched the Tour on TV for years as my dad’s a big, big fan. He’s going to be so jealous!
“Our main role as Tour Makers will be helping the general public and making sure everyone has a safe, good time.”
Another future Tour Maker, Vijay Dayalji from Bradford, said: “I was completely shocked and am really excited to be a part of it,” he said.
“I’m looking forward to meeting people, seeing the riders zoom past and being part of the atmosphere and the buzz.”
One Tour Maker has more reason than most to look forward to the race's visit to Yorkshire - 21-year-old French student, who is studying tourism at Sheffield Hallam University.
She said: “I am really excited because I am French and my dad’s been a cyclist all his life – he used to be semi pro – and I grew up with the Tour de France so it’s really great to be involved.
"I cycle for fun myself, but I’ve seen the Tour every year on TV for the last 10 years and been to the last three or four final stages in Paris, so I know first-hand how massive it is. Now, to be part of it to make it happen, is just perfect.”
Welcome to Yorkshire has teamed up with Leeds-based Asda for the Tour Makers initiative.
The supermarket operator has helped to recruit and train the volunteers, as well as clothe them – the uniforms are made by its George clothing brand.
Volunteers now need to undertake an online training module and will then take part in motivational training and uniform collection days taking place in May and June.
Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said: “The response since day one to the Tour Maker project has been unbelievable, with so many people wanting to be directly involved with this historic event.
“Whatever role a Tour Maker plays, wherever that is, they can say for years to come ‘I was there and I helped make it happen’.”
TDFHub2014 Ltd, the company delivering the Grand Départ, will be assigning roles to individual Tour Makers.
Those include marshalling the route and crossing points, as well as duties such as helping people with directions to the event at public transport hubs.
Nicky Roche, chief executive of TdFHUB2014 Ltd, said: “The standard of applications was incredibly high, and I know that come July we will have a team of incredible, talented Tour Makers ready to welcome the world to the Tour de France in the UK.”
Did you apply to become a Tour Maker, and if so, did you receive good news? Let us know in the comments.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.