Tour de France: Cyclists test the route

NARG 1406303AM2 Ripon TDF feature. (1406303AM2)
NARG 1406303AM2 Ripon TDF feature. (1406303AM2)
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The route of the Tour de France in Yorkshire has already become a bona fide tourist attraction, pulling in visitors from across the country, keen to test their skills on the roads Cavendish and co will conquer this weekend.

Thousands of cyclists are expected to follow the tracks of their heroes and ride the route over the next few months.

Alan Weston, Ripon city development manager said: “The brown signs highlighting the route are great.

“People will come to Yorkshire to ride the route of the Tour de France in Yorkshire, they will come from all over Europe and they will come to Ripon.”

One eager group of amateur cyclists took on the challenge of the 190km route of day one of the Tour de France 2014 earlier this week, stopping in Ripon for a lunch break.

“We are just amateurs, just a group of lads and dads out for a challenge,” said Ian Banks, 50, from Darlington.

“We did the Coast to Coast last year and wanted to try something different, it is absolutely fantastic the route they have chosen.”

Ian along with his 16-year-old son Callum Banks, friends Phil Greenwell and Keith Bresland and Phil’s son Chris, 16, spent three days to cycle the Leeds to Harrogate which the experts will complete in a matter on hours on Saturday.

Phil said: “It is a very pretty route, there are already people parked up and camping at the best bits. You can sense the atmosphere already, all the villages have got involved with decorating.”

One of the aims of Welcome to Yorkshire is for Yorkshire to become the premier destination for cycling.

Welcome to Yorkshire board member Sir Thomas Ingilby of Ripley Castle said: “It is already happening, hundreds of cyclists are doing the route already.

“Part of the legacy will be bringing people to Yorkshire to cycle.”