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Joy as Le Tour route to pass through Otley
Excitement levels are rising for the 2014 Tour de France following this week’s confirmation of a route that embraces Wharfedale.
Yesterday’s announcement in Paris spelled out exactly what will happen when the 191 kilometre Leeds to Harrogate opening stage of next year’s race passes through on Saturday, July 5.
The Grand Depart will see the world’s finest riders racing to Harewood House and then joining the A659 through Arthington, Pool-in-Wharfedale and Otley, where the route will take in Cross Green and Westgate.
The race will then join the A660 and the A65 Burley bypass to Ilkley – where it will follow Leeds Road and Skipton Road – before bypassing Addingham as it makes its way to Skipton and beyond.
Councillor Ryk Downes (Lib Dem, Otley & Yeadon) said: “It’s fantastic news that it has finally been confirmed that Le Tour is coming to Otley.
“We can all look forward to being on the world stage and to Otley putting on a really special day for all those who come along to watch the race, so they can see what a wonderful place the town is.”
Otley Town Council is busy putting all kinds of arrangements in place to ensure just that, and leader Councillor John Eveleigh (Lab, Ashfield) said the Paris announcement had given all those working on the plans a new boost.
He said: “The level of anticipation for Le Tour in the town is certainly rising and we’re aiming to make sure Otley, as well as Yorkshire, has its share of the spotlight come July 5.
“So many different groups are talking to us about either staging their own event or getting involved on the day.”
Pool-in-Wharfedale Parish Council also has big plans to mark the occasion, including an arts project involving hundreds of local schoolchildren that will see welcoming banners for the cyclists lining its streets. Local businesses are expecting to receive a boost come next summer too – and few more so than Chevin Cycles.
Ben Peacock, who works at the specialist shop in Gay Lane, Otley, said: “There has been an increase in interest in cycling ever since the 2012 Olympics and the first announcement that the Tour was coming through Otley and that’s just grown.
“A lot of people are coming in and asking us questions about Le Tour, which we’re very happy about.
“We’re obviously looking to sell more bikes as the date gets nearer, but cycling in general has become more popular anyway ever since London 2012, with ladies’ road bikes, in particular, in demand.”
MP Greg Mulholland (Lib Dem, Leeds North West) said: “It is absolutely fantastic that the Tour de France will be making its way through the cities, towns, villages and countryside of Yorkshire.
“I am particularly pleased at the announcement that the race will be going through the constituency and in particular Pool-in-Wharfedale and Otley – the home of Olympic silver medallist Lizzie Armitstead and now a nationally-recognised centre for cycling with its increasingly popular annual Town Centre Races and cycling festival.”
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