The Tour comes to Yorkshire!

It still sounds mad to say it, but last weekend the Tour de France started in Yorkshire.

The 2014 "Grand Depart" saw riders start in Leeds on Saturday for a stage taking them through the Yorkshire Dales to finish in Harrogate, then on Sunday the second stage started in York and looped around through West Yorkshire to finish in Sheffield. I was lucky enough to watch both stages, the first as a spectator on the Cote de Grinton climb, and the second as a Tour Maker volunteer. It was an incredible weekend - the weather was good, the crowds were massive and our county looked amazing! Here are a few photos...

On saturday we had a great view as Jens Voigt came up the climb in a solo breakaway:
"He's coming!!"
Amazing crowds on the Cote de Grinton

Some people (and animals) had really made an effort...

We listened to the end of the stage as we walked back across the hills to our campsite and were sad to hear about Cav's crash, but it had been an amazing day. I recorded a bit of video too, which you can watch here: Day 1 video

On Sunday I was able to watch from the Cote de Jenkin Rd - an incredibly steep hill just 5kms from the finish. I was originally allocated a Tour Maker role in the Meadowhall Overspill Car park, which didn't sound the most glamrous! However, the Jenkin Rd marshalls needed a bit more help so we duly obliged, and I found myself with a fantastic view of the race as the riders slogged up the hill (it's so steep that the bike is a hinderance - I ran up quicker on the Accelerate run last Thursday than most of the TdF riders rode up it!)

A gaggle of Tour Makers

More huge crowds, and gathering clouds of doom!
Contador leads the lead group

The top!
I've recorded a couple of animations of the lead group, and the yellow jersey group going up the hill:

Lead group
Yellow jersey group

And also a short video of the hill - Day 2 video

And finally, a few more photos are on my Flickr page here

The tour left England last night and I think we put on a great show, the rain held off in Yorkshire and only arrived on the last stage from Cambridge to London yesterday, which also had some amazing crowds! It looks to me like the Grand Depart 2014 has been a brilliant success, and I think they might be back sooner than they had planned... I'll certainly never forget seeing Jens Voigt powering up that climb with the backdrop of the Yorkshire Dales, or Alberto Contador dancing up a residential street in Wincobank. Thank you TdF!

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