Emmerdale riders take to two wheels before Grand Depart festival of cycling

Emmerdale actors Jason Merrells and Gaynor Faye join crew member Andrew Whiston and Ron Hiley for a cycling time trial at Harewood House.
Emmerdale actors Jason Merrells and Gaynor Faye join crew member Andrew Whiston and Ron Hiley for a cycling time trial at Harewood House.
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Famous faces from Yorkshire TV soap Emmerdale have saddled up for a team cycling time trial at Harewood House.

Actors Gaynor Faye and Jason Merrells, who play Megan and Declan Macey on the show, joined crew member Andrew Whiston and Ron Hiley for a team ride that will prove one of the many mass participation sporting events to feature at the Dare 2b Yorkshire Festival of Cycling, which will run over the Grand Depart weekend of July 4 to 6.

Visitors to the festival are being challenged to beat the Emmerdale team’s time of 49minutes and 45seconds over five laps of the 2.4mile closed road circuit, which they completed in aid of Marie Curie Cancer Care.

The two-wheeled festival will celebrate all things cycling on the weekend that the world’s greatest riders ceremonially start the 190km Leeds to Harrogate stage one of the Tour de France from Harewood on Saturday July 5.

Christopher Ussher, Harewood Estate resident agent, said: “We’ve always had an excellent relationship with the cast and crew, so we were very happy to welcome Gaynor, Jason and the team up at to Harewood to set the benchmark for our cycling team time trial. It was certainly an impressive time set by the group and I’ll be very much looking forward to seeing how the participants at our Festival of Cycling fare in trying to beat them.”

Leeds’ Olympic triathletes Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee have already set time trial times, while festival visitors can also look forward to duathlons and trail runs.

High-profile guests including Otley-born Olympic silver medal-winning cyclist Lizzie Armitstead and Tour de France winners Oscar Pereiro and Stephen Roche will attend the festival.

A cycling cinema, shopping expo, live music and big screens displaying live coverage of the Tour de France as well as the FIFA World Cup quarter finals, the British Grand Prix and Wimbledon will also feature.

Guests at Harewood will also be treated to a Red Arrows flypast during the stage one start on July 5, before a Battle of Britain memorial flight when Le Tour rolls from York to Sheffield.

Lizzie Armitstead added: “This is my home county, and the roads around Harewood House are some of my favourite to ride on when I’m here, so going on a ride with the Yorkshire Festival of Cycling will be a bit like taking a big group of cycling fans on one of my training routes.”

The YEP is running a series of On Yer Bike! video interview specials, where well known Yorkshire faces including Emmerdale stars, are asked about their Tour plans. Visit www.yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk/video.


More than 15,000 people have booked places at the Dare 2b Yorkshire Festival of Cycling, as Harewood House prepares to host up to 30,000 Tour de France fans from July 4 to 6.

Day tickets are still available for the festival, which start from £18, with packages available for camping and activities. Camping prices start from £14 per person per night based on a standard pitch for eight people.

For further information or to book your place at the Dare 2b Yorkshire Festival of cycling visit www.festivalofcycling.org.

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