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100-day countdown to the Tour de France begins

Team Sky's Chris Froome celebrates on the podium after winning The 2013 Tour de France in Paris, France. Picture: Tim Ireland/PA Wire

Team Sky's Chris Froome celebrates on the podium after winning The 2013 Tour de France in Paris, France. Picture: Tim Ireland/PA Wire

Yorkshire is now just 100 days away from a summer to remember as a once-in-a-lifetime Tour de France races towards the county.

Both the milestone in the countdown to Le Tour and the official start of the Grand Depart Yorkshire Festival 2014 arts events are being celebrated at Welcome to Yorkshire’s annual Y14 conference in Harrogate and Le Grand Depart 100 Days Dinner at Ripon Cathedral today.

Y14 will feature key announcements that could spell a major pro cycling legacy for Yorkshire as well as the unveiling of Alistair Griffin’s official Grand Depart theme tune and high profile visitors including five-time Tour winner Bernard Hinault, Le Tour’s deputy director Pierre-Yves Thouault and cycling legend Brian Robinson.

The YEP understands the event will see Welcome to Yorkshire launch a major campaign in the capital which includes screening a new advert in around 3,000 London taxis throughout April to promote the Grand Depart.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg is also expected to speak at the event, which will host around 2,000 guests, as he embarks on a day tour of the region’s businesses and Yorkshire Festival commissions.

He said: “This is a great opportunity to showcase Yorkshire’s unique culture and boost local businesses as we gear up for the Grand Depart, which will bring in millions of pounds of investment to the region.”

The first events of the 47-commission Yorkshire Festival 2014 will get underway today, with stage shows A Taste of Honey, at Hull Truck Theatre, and Jonathan Watkins’ dance production of Kes at the Crucible, in Sheffield, opening.

The cultural festival will later star the headline Ghost Peloton night-time cycling display at The Tetley, in Leeds.

Festival director Henrietta Duckworth said: “Everyone is invited to this party – log on, book in, bring your picnic and come and be part of it.”

People hoping to catch a glimpse of Le Tour passing through Leeds and along the Yorkshire stage routes have been given an insight into the locations of 17 official Grand Depart spectator hubs including sites at Scott Hall playing fields, Harewood, Otley town centre and Ilkley’s Riverside Gardens. Some hubs can hold up to 20,000 people and will feature big screens and refreshments.

Leeds City Council’s lead member for leisure Coun Lucinda Yeadon said: “Choose where you want to be, get there early and make a day of it celebrating what is sure to be an amazing ‘I was there’ moment for Leeds.”

Le Tour will race from Leeds to Harrogate on July 5 before cycling from York to Sheffield on July 6.

Visit www.letour.yorkshire.com for details.

 

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