Yorkshire is dressed to impress for the Tour de France, and with days to go until the Grand Depart arrives we have rewarded four communities that have gone that extra mile.
Killinghall, near Harrogate, has been named best dressed village, Knaresborough has won best town and Bishopthorpe Road, York, has claimed the best community/ city prize after they entered the Best Dressed for the Yorkshire Grand Depart competition organised by the Yorkshire Evening Post and The Yorkshire Post in partnership with Welcome to Yorkshire.
From yellow bikes and shop window displays to murals and knitted bunting, creative hubs across the region have been dressing their areas to celebrate the once-in-a-lifetime arrival of the world’s greatest cycle race this weekend.
Following lengthy deliberations between a Welcome to Yorkshire judging panel, the entries were of such a high standard that Otley, near Leeds, was also given a special ‘highly commended’ award in the best town category.
Each area is being rewarded with a special commemorative plaque as well as a haul of tickets to the Grand Depart Team Presentation at Leeds First Direct Arena on Thursday.
Nicola Furbisher, managing editor at Yorkshire Post Newspapers, said: “Communities across Yorkshire have been really getting behind what will be a fantastic event in our county.
“Knaresborough, Killinghall, Otley and Bishopthorpe Road, in York, are all perfect examples of just how warm of a welcome our region is giving the world’s greatest cycle race.”
Judges were particularly impressed with the weight of social media support behind Knaresborough’s makeover that includes 2.2km of Tour bunting and a popular yellow bike trail, while Otley’s similar enthusiasm with 19 local pubs translating their names to French, colourful murals and the popular cycling-themed Otley Carnival earned the area acclaim.
Bishopthorpe Road, known as ‘Bishy Road’ to York locals, has planned a Tour de France street party on Sunday, making the most of its cross-street bunting and shop window displays, while Killinghall’s yellow jersey flowerbed, lamp post yellow ribbons and sheep painted in Tour jersey colours won the judges over.
Chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, Gary Verity, said: “We’ve all been incredibly impressed by the passion and creativity our communities have shown and it just goes to show the enthusiasm we have right across Yorkshire for the arrival of the Tour.”
The Grand Depart is now just days away, with riders setting off on the Leeds to Harrogate stage one from Leeds’ Headrow on Saturday at 11.10am, before cycling from York to Sheffield on Sunday.
Riders will cycle from London to Cambridge for stage three on Monday before the race heads across the English Channel.