May to September series of events centres around July 7 Tour stage 3

The third stage of the 2014 Tour de France sets out from Cambridge to London exactly six months from today, on July 7. A good moment, then, for Cambridgeshire County Council to announce Velo Festival, a five-month cultural and sporting festival to celebrate the world’s biggest bike race’s visit to the UK’s cycling capital.

Running from May to September, the Velo Festival will be a series of countywide activities run by local community organisations including cycling roadshows in the county’s market towns, a bike ballet, and an £80,000 public art project.

Stage 3 of the Tour will leave Gonville Place by Parker’s Piece, Cambridge, then the peloton will ride along King’s Parade and Trumpington Street passing St John’s, Trinity and King’s Colleges before leaving the city via Trumpington Road.

Parker’s Piece will host the Big Weekend free music festival over the weekend before the stage, and it will be extended into the Monday to give the race a top volume send off.

With Cambridge’s send-off ringing in their ears, riders will then race through South Cambridgeshire via the A1301 before leaving the county via Saffron Walden and through Essex towards London to finish on The Mall in front of Buckingham Palace.

As many as 450,000 people are expected to line the route, some 100,000 of them in Cambridge itself. The route map is available at http://www.letour.2014stage3.com/.

Councillor Noel Kavanagh, cycling champion at Cambridgeshire County Council, said: “Our plan this year is to seize the opportunity for Cambridgeshire to be showcased, enjoyed and seen in a new light by local residents, visitors and international spectators who come to experience Le Tour. This is a chance which we could not ignore to celebrate how cycling is part of our county’s DNA both now and in the future.

“While there are milestones ahead such as International Bike day in May – we are keen to hear from anyone who feels they could contribute to the Festival.”

To get involved with Velo Festival email: thevelofestival [at] cambridgeshire.gov.uk or call 0345 045 5200.

Full information on the Tour’s visit to Cambridge and Cambridgeshire is available from the City Council website and the County Council website.

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.