Tour de Yorkshire villages see efforts beamed worldwide
Scholes residents were rewarded for their community spirit in welcoming the Tour de Yorkshire with international acclaim.
Villagers decorated streets in style with blues and yellow bunting, cycles and even a cyclist bursting through a wall to greet the peloton of the fifth Tour de Yorkshire and women’s Tour.
Janet Horkan, who helped organise the entry for Best Dressed Village, said: “What a fantastic response by the village to our calls for help.
“Residents along Main Street and Station Road really pulled out all the stops, even to the point of getting up at the crack of dawn to take part in interviews for national BBC News.
“Our tremendous energy has even reached Australia. How good is that? The Directors of TDY arrived and congratulated everyone on the effort.
“This has been a fantastic opportunity for the village to pull together and enjoy being together.”
She added: “The local pub The Buffers ran a competition and my hubby (he was the logistics director) and I won for our cyclist bursting through a wall.
“It was really well received. Seacroft Wheelers cycling club had their club run past the wall to have a photo taken. We named the cyclist Derek.”
Scholes resident Karen Nash added: “It was a surreal morning as the BBC arrived just after 5am, then we had Ronnie the Rhino, who turned up on a micro scooter, Satnam, one of our long standing residents in his magnificent yellow turban made especially for the Tour de Yorkshire, Christian Prudhomme race director and Peter Dodd from Welcome to Yorkshire.
“Main street had a carnival atmosphere and the sight of Ronnie the Rhino drinking tea sat on a sofa at half past six in the morning will be remembered for many years to come.
“I know it all sounds far fetched but it did all happen in Scholes last Friday.”
Barwick-in-Elmet also cheered on the cyclists with schoolchildren joining in.
Further along the Stage 2 route from Barnsley to Bedale last Friday, villagers from Shadwell decorated their streets and turned out in large numbers to welcome the cyclists.
Chris Lawless became the first British winner of the TdY after defending champion Greg Van Avermaet won the final stage in Leeds.
About 800,000 spectators witnessed a gripping conclusion last Sunday, taking the overall roadside attendance to 1.96 million over the four days.
Welcome to Yorkshire’s Commercial Director Peter Dodd said: “This is a big year for cycling in the county with the UCI Road World Championships taking place in September, and the 2019 Tour de Yorkshire has been incredible.”
He added: “The pride and passion of all those people watching over the last four days has been plain to see and having the world-class male and female riders in action will have inspired thousands of people to get active.
“We’ve taken the race to another level this year and Christian Prudhomme commented today that Yorkshire deserves the yellow jersey for its crowds.
“Driving the route, the crowds were up there at Tour de France-level proportions, six-ten deep in almost every place we passed through.
“We’re showcasing Yorkshire to a worldwide audience and that’s incredibly powerful.”
Race winner Chris Lawless said: “I can’t believe I’ve won what is essentially my home race and I’m over the moon. I’ve really surprised myself over the last four days and that was the deepest I’ve ever dug on a bike.
“It’s always nice to race in Britain because we don’t get to ride here much and the crowds in Yorkshire are always amazing.
“I’ve started every edition of this race and always had good memories of it. It’s always a nice race to come to and the fans are always really supportive.
“There’s hundreds of thousands of them and I’ve heard my name shouted a few times this week which is always nice. It’s incredible to have won here.”
Stage winner Greg Van Avermaet said: “I’m happy with the stage win on the streets of Leeds, and also second place overall. I’m always happy to come to Yorkshire; I first came here in 2014 and I like the organisation and the people, and it’s always a great atmosphere.
“We were a bit unlucky with the weather in the previous three days but the number of people in the crowds really appreciated what we were doing.”