Up hill and down dale as Sheffield stages a frantic finish

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  • by Ellen Beardmore, Marisa Cashill, Sam Jackson, Rachel Parry, Chris Burn, Polly Rippon, Alex Evans and Simon Waller

THE hills surrounding Sheffield provided the perfect backdrop to a frantic finish to stage two of the Tour de France.

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Tens of thousands of people are lined the streets of Bradfield as Tour fever swept the village.

Families, some wearing fancy dress, camped out over the Grand Depart weekend and were prepared to wait for hours for their heroes to arrive.

Superfan Nina Peppit, aged 63, from Chesterfield, who arrived at 10am yesterday morning said: “I’m absolutely flabbergasted at the amount of people who are here. It’s wonderful.

The route was covered in messages written in chalk, including ‘Where’s Wiggo?’ and ‘To Froome, I love you’.

And a brass band is played at the highest point of High Bradfield as the village came alive with a carnival type atmosphere.

Jim and Mal Cork, originally from Sheffield but who now live in Nottingham, said: “We just managed to get our slot at the top of the hill. And we stopped there because we’re near the pub!

“It’s fantastic to have this in Sheffield and such a boost to the local economy.

“On Saturday on the television it looked amazing and now everyone will see how great Sheffield is.

“Everyone at the Old Horns pub last night said it is the busiest it had ever been.”

Tourists from far and wide had celebrated the rural side of Sheffield in celebrations ahead of the Tour de France.

The Steel Stage in High Bradfield - which includes Bradfield Brewery’s first beer festival, music and entertainment - welcomed almost 4,000 people on Saturday with thousands more arriving yesterday.

Revellers danced to bands as the sun slowly set over the village and cyclists tested out the route on the road next to the field.

Andy and Gill Kendall, of Oughtibridge, attracted attention with their bulldog George.

Andy said: “We took the week off work to really soak the whole event up, we are hoping it will help other people realise how beautiful this area is.”

Many food stalls sold out. Robert Samuela, of Frecheville, said his Caribbean food stall had sold 60 kilos of chicken in a few hours.

Closer to the finish line at Sheffield Arena the atmosphere was buzzing too.

Claire Beecroft, landlady of The Cock Inn in Oughtibridge, said: “It was so exciting. We didn’t know what to expect.

“We had hundreds in on Saturday night and our takings doubled.”

A three day festival was hosted at Oughtibridge War Memorial and Recreation Ground. Around 2,000 people, mostly residents, were there on Saturday to watch bands perform but thousands more arrived on Sunday.

The festival ended late last night with entertainment after the race.

The was Sheffield embraced the race was praised by Scottish cyclists Gordon Stark and David Clayden.

Lawyer Gordon said: ‘We’ve been out on the route - its really impressive how Yorkshire has put the event on.

“There was bunting and celebrations everywhere.”

SHEFFIELD’S Jenkin Road will long live in the memory of the cyclists who powered their way up to the summit but for those at the side of the road it was also a special day.

In the park at the top of the hill there was a big screen showing the action from Stage 2. There were fairground rides, beer tent, food and drink stalls and activities for children.

Families were sitting having picnics and enjoying the sunshine.

Keen cyclist Fred Denton, 57, and his wife Elizabeth, 54, had travelled to Wincobank all the way from Glasgow.

He is cycling Stage 18 in the Pyrenees later this month.

He said: “It’s a fantastic atmosphere here. It really is superb. We’ve got a great view and everyone is really getting into the spirit of it.”

At Meadowhall thousands of people swapped shopping for cycling with many making journeys from across the country and even overseas to partake in a piece of Sheffield history.

Keen Tour de France followers Keith and Sue James travelled from Cardiff for stage one and two of the race.

Keith said: “We went to the final stage in Paris last year and were eager to see the action in Yorkshire this year.

“We were in Leeds on Saturday which was great but have been equally impressed with the atmosphere and organisation in Sheffield too.”

Meadowhall centre director Darren Peace, said he was delighted with the turn out: He said: “We wanted to create a really fun family atmosphere with activities for both children and adults to enjoy ahead of the race.

“We are fortunate to be on a great strip of the race - after battling Jenkin Road and onto the finish line.”

The riders had earlier come through Hillsborough where Glenn Chappell, 43, and his daughter Georgia set up a sweet shop outside their house on Penistone Road North, selling crisps and drinks to race watchers.

Glenn said they have been looking forward to the event since it was announced it was coming to Sheffield.

“It is a once in a lifetime thing. I’m glad we have got to see it,” he said.

He said he was not concerned by the road closures that were necessary for the event to take place and said the event should be welcomed to the area.

“I haven’t got a problem with it. It is like people moaning about potholes, then complaining about roadworks - how can you win?”

And at the finishing line in Attercliffe Alan Devonport, an exhibitor with the South Yorkshire branch of the dry stone wall association at the Don Valley Bowl, said: “I think it’s a lovely, lovely family orientated event. There must have been about 4,000 or 5,000 people here in Don Valley Bowl.

“We’re here to show off dry walling - there are about 1,500 miles of dry stone wall in South Yorkshire alone and this has been a great place to show it off.”

Jasper Sharpe, aged 40, from Woodseats, said: “The Tour De France is the third biggest sporting event in the world after the Olympics and the World Cup and the fact it is in Sheffield is just brilliant.”




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