Tour de Yorkshire: Community spirit shines in Calder Valley on stage 3

The peloton makes its way up Scapegoat  Hill out of Slaithwaite.' PIC: Bruce Rollinson
The peloton makes its way up Scapegoat Hill out of Slaithwaite.' PIC: Bruce Rollinson
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The creativity and community spirit of the upper Calder Valley was showcased for all to see as thousands flocked to numerous events celebrating the arrival of the Tour de Yorkshire.

Cycling fans lined the streets to catch a glimpse of stars of the saddle including Sir Bradley Wiggins as the race passed through Ripponden, Cragg Vale and Hebden Bridge.

Before the race arrived, thousands of amateur cyclists took their chance to ride the route as they took part in a Tour de Yorkshire mass participation bike ride.

Keen to relive the excitement of last year’s Tour de France, the communities of the upper Calder Valley staged events to coincide with the arrival of the race and create a carnival atmosphere.

Anne Caldwell, 50, of Hebden Bridge, said: “We’re really excited about the Tour de Yorkshire coming through the town.

“It’s fantastic that the sun has come out and it’s great to see the town full of people.”

Ali Mills, 39, also from Hebden Bridge added: “I think it’s wonderful to have it come through the town again.

“The atmosphere is wonderful.”

In Ripponden the race had a backdrop of donkeys and miniature trains as the village held its annual gala.

And Stones Methodist Church, which installed a massive blue bike outside the building, held a special fun day.

Gala organiser Veca Wilson said: “It’s very exciting to have the race here and it’s great for the village.”

Minister Francis Neil, added: “It’s a big day for the community, we couldn’t wait to celebrate the day again.

“It’s important to bring the community together for events like this and it’s good for the kids as they can get involved with the activities whilst the cycling is on.”

Spectator Krista Mavrohannas, who watched in Ripponden, said: “I’ve come back up home from London to see the race. It’s great to see so many people here.

“Plus, all those legs in lycra is worth it on its own”

Various groups organised a host of events in Cragg Vale over the weekend to provide a big race welcome for all.

Following on from the successful Cragg Fest at the Robin Hood pub on Saturday,

In Hebden Bridge, the town’s beer and cider festival allowed visitors to wet their whistle before and after the race.

And the Hebden Bridge Junior Brass Band provided musical entertainment throughout the afternoon to welcome the Tour into the village.

The atmosphere was electric as the build up to the big event began and there were roars of delight as the cyclists tore their way through the valley.

Hundreds lined the streets to play their part in the inaugural event.

Julie Buchanan, 53, and her son Ross, 11, picked their vantage spot in their home town of Hebden Bridge.

Ross said: “It was amazing, it was a lot longer than I expected, I thought they would come rushing past.

“I’m really glad I came to see it.”

Mum Julie added: “When it comes through your town, you have to be there to cheer them on. All power to the cyclists, I say.”

Dave Knight, 48, had travelled from Litchfield, Staffordshire, with his family to see the Tour de Yorkshire in Hebden Bridge.

He said: “It’s a really nice place to watch it go through, it was absolutely fantastic.

“If it’s going to be a yearly event, we’ll definitely be making a trip for it.”

Tour de France enthusiasts, the Noble family added: “It’s nice that everyone came out and it’s great that there’s still support there after the Tour de France.

“Hebden Bridge is a really nice place for it to go through.”

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