One month to the day before the 101st edition of the Tour de France begins in Leeds, cyclists, artists and farmers have yesterday descended on a field in Yorkshire to create an artwork that will be seen by millions of viewers worldwide during TV coverage of Stage 2 of the race. Meanwhile, communities throughout the region are busy putting the finishing touches to their preparations to welcome the world’s biggest annual sporting event.
The artwork, called The Leap has been designed by West Yorkshire-based artist Louise Lockhart and was traced out yesterday near Oxenhope by the tyre tracks of dozens of cyclists taking part in a time trial, the course of which follows the outline of a female figure, symbolising the freedom the bicycle gave women.
It is one of a dozen installations being put in place on the route of Stage 2 from York to Sheffield as part of the Yorkshire Festival, under the name Fields of Vision, whose creative director, Geoff Wood, said: “For our team working on Fields of Vision, the Tour de France is a fantastic chance to show just what talented artists we have in the region and to use their skills to make art on a truly epic scale.
“Delivering a project as ambitious as this has been a big undertaking. We are really looking forward to seeing the results of our work on the television and sharing our work with all the viewers. We hope, of course that this will encourage people to explore this glorious landscape.”
Welcome to Yorkshire’s chief executive, Gary Verity, who masterminded the successful bid to bring the race to the north of England, said: “It’s fitting that this team of cyclists should help us mark one month to go to the start of the Tour.
“It is images like these, beamed to the world, which will put Yorkshire on the map globally. We’ve a month to go to the greatest sporting event in Yorkshire’s history, the county is crackling with excitement and we cannot wait to start welcoming the world.”
Welcome to Yorkshire also outlined some of the iniiatives being undertaken locally ahead of the race, including:
70km of celebratory cycling jersey bunting being sent throughout the county to dress towns and villages in preparation for the big weekend
Taylors of Harrogate, the official tea partner of the Grand Départ, is preparing to giveaway over 5m tea bags to spectators lined along the UK stages
In Masham, over 100,000 pints of beers are predicted to be sold from its breweries during the Tour de France weekend – the biggest party in the town’s history
Harrogate Borough Council after a call out for 3,000 knitted bunting jerseys, have been inundated with 23,000 jerseys
In Ripley – which is styled on an historic French village complete with Hotel du Ville – a giant Tricolour of flowers is being planted on the castle terraces to be visible from the air
Knaresborough have filled their town with over 20 yellow bikes and 14 trompe l'oeil window murals, two of which feature cycling legends Beryl Burton and Brian Robinson.
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.