The Yorkshire town of Harrogate and three locations in London will host official Tour de France Fan Parks in July to coincide with the Grand Départ of the race, while a fourth location in the capital will follow for the closing days of the 101st edition. Each venue will be open for several days, and besides big screens there will be other activities to help fans get into the spirit of the race.
The concept was first launched at Canary Wharf in London last year, attracting 30,000 visitors, and according to Tour de France organisers ASO it has been extended to meet the “enthusiastic demand” from fans of the race here.
The Fan Parks are being sponsored by Nuffield Health, and are free to attend, although corporate hospitality VIP packages are also on their way. The locations, and the dates they are open, are :
- West Park Stray, Harrogate: July 3, 4, 5 and 6
- Green Park, London: July 4 (evening), 5, 6 and 7
- International Quarter, Olympic Park, London: July 5, 6, 7
- Trafalgar Square, London: July 5, 6, 7
- Canary Wharf, London: July 24, 25, 26 and 27
The Fan Parks are in addition to the spectator hubs announced last month, and which will vary in scale of activities and days of operation, some being open only for one day.
Besides giving people a chance to watch the race on the big screen, each Fan Park will have entertainment such as cinema nights and party nights, exhibitions on the Tour de France, activities related to the race, retail outlets, cafes and bars.
Experts from Nuffield Health will also be on hand to give advice on training and nutrition, and the healthcare charity will be represented in the Tour de France caravan that precedes the race.
Its managing director wellbeing, Dr Andy Jones, said: “With the explosion of UK cycling, due to the successes of riders like Bradley Wiggins and Olympians Chris Hoy and Victoria Pendleton, this year's Tour de France is a great opportunity to get the British public excited about an activity, that as well as being great fun, benefits your overall health.
“As an organisation dedicated to wellbeing, the Fan Parks are a huge opportunity for us to engage with people about their health. We'll be at the events encouraging people to stay fit and healthy in fun ways, including challenges, competitions, outdoor classes and health checks, as the more we can motivate people to take an active interest in their wellbeing, the better it is for the health of the nation.”
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.