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Cambridge residents more worried about road closures than celebrations, Otley accuses

Cambridge residents have been branded ‘boring’ by people from Yorkshire who have urged the city to raise its game ahead of Stage 3 of the Tour de France.

Northern residents have said that the ‘flat and boring’ reception to the third stage is not a patch on the celebrations around Stage 1, from Leeds to Harrogate yesterday, and Stage 2 from York to Sheffield today.

Tony Grey, a landlord in Otley, West Yorkshire, told the Bradford Telegraph and Argus that all the town’s pubs had translated their names into French and the council had erected more than 1km of bunting using a cherry picker.

He said: “Cambridge should realise it is a shop window. It is remiss of them not to seize the opportunity.

“We are a bit cannier up in Yorkshire – when we see an opportunity, we grab it with both arms.

“We are obviously a warmer and more welcoming place.”

Another Otley resident Ian Midgley said: “I think they’d get more out of it themselves if they put some effort into it.

“It is a flat, boring stage from Cambridge to London, and it sounds like they are giving it a similar reception.”

Cambridge Council responded with a statement reading: “The Tour doesn’t just start anywhere so it is a huge honour to have the race coming to Cambridge but with cycling in our DNA it is also the right place for it to be.

“We have had a phenomenal response to the Velo Festival with over 120 events celebrating cycling in Cambridgeshire through culture and sport.

“The city itself is looking amazing with bunting, shop windows and even lampposts dressed to welcome the race.

“While in every place there will be some people who don’t get into the spirit of an event, we feel that Le Tour is alive and well here and we look forward to welcoming the colour, passion and sheer spectacle of the Tour de France on Monday.”

In May we reported how disruptions to Cambridge’s transport system for the visit of the Tour de France were dubbed a “nightmare” by one unhappy councillor.

It is probably worth pointing out that the difficulties involved in running a stage from one city in the South East in to the capital on a working day are likely to far outweigh those involved in running one through Yorkshire towns and villages on a weekend. Otley's population is 14,215, while Cambridge is home to 123,900 people, and Greater London - 7 million.

As Cambridge Council announced that no buses will be able to access the city centre on the July 7 race day, the news to the disruption that will be caused by the road closures that were announced in March.

Calling the planned inner-city transport disruption a “nightmare”, councillor Charlie Nightingale said: “I welcome the Tour, but I can’t understand why the roads need to be closed for this long period of time.”

The roads in the vicinity of the Parker’s Piece start line are set to be closed from from 5.30pm on July 6, the day before the race. Some roads will reopen at 3pm, once the race has left the city, but others are expected to stay shut until 6pm. This means some roads will be closed for up to 24 hours.

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.