Festival of cycling among plans for Tour de Yorkshire

Wharfedale Observer: Insp Sue Sanderson Insp Sue Sanderson

A week-long cycling festival and voluntary town guides are among plans being made for Ilkley’s welcome to the Tour de France next summer.

Key figures planning for the arrival of the Tour de France in Ilkley next year told more than 100 people at a public meeting about their preparations.

Ilkley’s Tour de France group welcomed representatives of tourism body Welcome to Yorkshire, Ilkley Cycling Club, West Yorkshire Police, Bradford Council, and an Ilkley-based cycling journalist and author, to the meeting at the Clarke Foley Centre last Wednesday (November 27).

Ilkley Cycling Club’s Stephanie Millward and Mike Firth unveiled plans for a cycling festival – including escorted rides, talks, parties and a town centre race, similar to the successful Otley Town races, in the run-up to the weekend of July 5 and 6.

Agnes Tomlinson, of Ilkley Soroptimists, also told the meeting how the organisation has taken on the role of Ilkley Guides.

These guides will be dotted around town from July 4 to 6, to provide visitors with assistance in finding their way around, handing out information on Ilkley and welcoming visitors with a friendly smile.

Inspector Sue Sanderson explained how police will be mobilised during July 2014, supporting Le Tour and maintaining an emergency service to local people.

Bradford Council officers Noreen Akhtar and Mike Powell, updated residents on the relationship they have with the organising agencies and how they are responding.

Much detail is yet to be confirmed, including road closure times and extra railway capacity.

Ilkley Parish Council project manager Bryan Websdale said: “It is reassuring to know that the local authority is engaging with the appropriate agencies and the information they receive will get filtered to Ilkley as soon as they receive it.”

The meeting also heard from Welcome to Yorkshire’s Lee Hawksworth, and Ilkley resident, cycling journalist and author Peter Cossins, who has around 15 years’ first-hand knowledge of reporting on and within the Tour de France organising body.

Local businesses who may be interested in being involved either with sponsorship or to offer help in kind, such as the use of services or volunteering, are invited to get in touch with the Ilkley Tour de France group on ilkley.org.letour.

Anyone who would like to be involved in the town guide scheme is asked to visit the website or contact Soroptimists directly.

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