The countdown to the Grand Depart of the Tour de France arriving in Yorkshire is truly on! To celebrate the 100 day countdown Welcome to Yorkshire held their conference Y14 on March 27th 2014. Of course Pennine Cycles attended to celebrate everything about Le Tour and our great county of Yorkshire!
Here is some of footage we took on the day:
As we arrived there were a number of stalls featuring local and national businesses. It was great to see so many delegates supporting the event. The Town Crier was around giving calls and welcoming everyone to the event, in typical Town Crier style – Loud!
The conference itself was hosted by TV Presenter Rob Walker, opened with how Yorkshire is about to hold the “most prestigious sporting event on the annual calendar.” Welcome to Yorkshire CEO, Gary Verity, was then invited to the stage. He told how from day one he told how he was convinced that the destiny of the Tour de France was for it to come to Yorkshire.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg was then interviewed live on stage. Whatever your political views it is a big deal to have the deputy prime minister attend your event! He talked about how he was supportive of the Tour and wasn’t aware initially of how big it is. We have found this to be the reaction to most people not involved in cycling.
Unfortunately Christian Prudhomme, Cycling Director of ASO, wasn’t in attendance but he did send a video in which he talked about Yorkshire’s passion for cycling and our cycling history, with riders such as Brian Robinson and Barry Hoben. Pierre-Yves Thouault the Tour de France Assistant Director was in Yorkshire and he said he had been enjoying the Yorkshire hospitality and that the landscape is beautiful. Gary stated that this year it will be the ‘grandest Grand Depart ever.” We think he will be right! Pierre advised “when the Grand Depart is a success the Tour will be a success. He did finish by saying he hoped a Frenchman will win the first stage, however Gary and even Christian said they hope it will be Cav!
Gary’s closing words on this part of the conference were “the winner of the Tour de France will be Yorkshire.” We absolutely agree and we can’t wait.
Next it was time for some cycling legends. Brian Robinson, Britain’s first Tour de France stage winner and Bernard Hinault, 5 time winner of the Tour de France. It was great to hear what they had to say about the course. They were both presented with personalised Welcome to Yorkshire jerseys.
The Tour Makers were also recognised, they will be doing a great job when the big days arrive. It was then time to talk about the Yorkshire Festival. Over the next 100 days there will be lots of events happening. You can get involved and find out more on their website.
It was then time to talk about the non-cycling related things happening in Yorkshire. These ranged from fine food to Hull being the city of culture.
To finish the conference we were back to our favourite event the Grand Depart. Martin Green, who was Head of Ceremonies for London 2012 will be putting together the Team Presentation and it will be the biggest team presentation ever produced.
We also got to hear about plans for the legacy of Le Tour and Kersten England from the City of York talked about this. One of the key points we felt she made was to get more women cycling as there are dramatically less women who cycle. They have also just announced a new app with route guides.
It was again time to hear from Gary for the last time. He said, “the Tour de France is the start of the journey, not the end!” Gary also announced from May 2015 there will be an International 3 day bike race. This is really exciting for all cycling fans. Gary also confirmed he will be staying at Welcome to Yorkshire, so we are very pleased about that!
The conference was closed with the official Grand Depart song by Alistair Griffin, called The Road.
This is just another event that has got everyone at Pennine Cycles even more excited for the Grand Depart, we are now officially counting down the days!