We're finally here. The 101st edition of the Tour de France starts tomorrow - in Yorkshire. We still won't quite believe it until we see the peloton roll out of Leeds in the morning, but from what we've seen so far, Welcome to Yorkshire's promise that this will be the "Grandest of Grand Departs" looks well on its way to being fulfilled. Here's our final news round-up ahead of the big day.
There’s been plenty of Strava segments set in Yorkshire in recent months with the Tour de France approaching – but the end of tomorrow’s Stage 1 poses a bit of a challenge, given that it’s one of Harrogate’s most traffic-clogged streets, and is also one-way, with the peloton tackling it from the opposite direction.
Luckily, some enterprising and unsurprisingly anonymous cyclists decided to set up a segment by riding the road at 1am, and what’s more, they captured it all on fil m – besides anything else, it shows you that it’s not the easiest run-in to the finish line for Cavendish and company tomorrow.
That KOM time is bound to go though – and here are some of the pros on Strava who may do it.
Oh, and the ‘damsel in distress’ at the end of the video? She’d just wandered out of a posh do at the Majestic Hotel, and needed a lift back to the Hotel du Vin at the top of the town, so what better way to do it than by getting a backie on a road bike?
Here’s a great video from Team Sky and Jaguar that shows you exactly what goes into each of the two XF Sportsbrakes that will follow the riders over the next three weks. Nine bikes on the roof rack, a wet bag for each rider with spare kit, 70 bidons, even four pens….every eventuality is covered. You can see the full list here.
Many pubs, cafés and other businesses across Yorkshire have been renamed with a cycling or French theme to mark this weekend’s Grand Départ – but none of them has got quite the same endorsement as the Coach & Horses in Harrogate.
The pub is just 100 yards from where Mark Cavendish hopes to win his 26th Tour de France stage, and with it don the race leader’s yellow jersey for the first time – and it’s been renamed the Cvndsh & Horses in honour of him.
If the vowel-free first part of its new name seems entirely on-message with the Manx sprinter’s recently launched brand, there’s a reason for that.
As the Harrogate Advertiser reports, the Lift Agency which looks after Cvndsh’s – sorry, Cavendish’s – branding is based in the North Yorkshire town.
The former world champion popped in after a recce of the stage finish last month and has even lent the pub some personal items to put on display for the weekend.
He’s been back this week and seems pretty chuffed with the tribute paid to him in what is his mother’s home town, tweeting a picture of the pub yesterday.
— Mark Cavendish (@MarkCavendish) July 1, 2014
Some of the road.cc team have been staying round the corner while getting you all the tech news from the Tour. Those of us not in Yorkshire are assuming they resisted the temptation to pop inside.
Garmin-Sharp may have kicked David Millar off its Tour de France team to the disappointment of many British fans, but the race’s loss is ITV’s gain, with the Scot signed up to provide expert analysis during its coverage over the opening three days of the race.
Millar is riding his final season, and had expected to take part in the race for the 13th time until he was told earlier this week that he had been dropped.
He is the only British rider to have led each classification at the Tour – and his absence this year means that his final act on the race was a brave but doomed attack on the Champs-Elysées 12 months ago that saw him out in front on his own.
Welcome to Yorkshire says it is expecting 2 million spectators to line the roadside on tomorrow’s opening stage of the Tour from Leeds to Harrogate, and the same number of people to be in attendance on Sunday when the race heads from York to Sheffield, reports the Northern Echo. Between the two stages, that’s 1 million more people than was initially anticipated, and the advice is, get to your chosen spot early.
For most Tour de France fans, rest days are an inconvenience – we’d all love to be watching some racing, rather than waiting 24 hours, right?
Well, help is at hand with the Tour de France drinking game that has been circulating on Twitter this week; chances are, your body will be as battered as those of any of the riders in the race, and you’ll be glad when those two days off come around.
We're not quite sure what the origninal source for this is.... if you know, please pass it on.
Oh, and please remember that road.cc encourages its readers to drink responsibly (hic).
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.