Thursday, 10 July 2014

Le Tour et Hebden Bridge



Le Tour came and went through Hebden Bridge just as quickly as we knew it would. In fact, the TV coverage showed the descent into the town……and the road along the Calder Valley, towards Cragg Vale ( or Cote du Ripponden as it was called in the TV commentary ), as the peleton left Hebden Bridge……but showed nothing of the town or the canal. Hebden Bridge vanished  in an advert break !

We didn’t care.

We had a great day.

Le Tour had left Leeds on day 1, and ended up in Harrogate, where Mark Cavendish crashed out onto the tarmac just metres from the finish line….badly injured, unable to continue on the following day, with a dislocated shoulder and ligament damage.

However, all seemed to agree that the crowds had been amazing, the racing was good and the weather had been lovely. So, Yorkshire had been shown off well, despite Cav’s fall.

A press photo which will surely be the subject of caption competitions for years to come.....Cameron and Boycott....a fly on the wall could well have been bored rigid.

Day 2 began in York, and ended in Sheffield.

 We felt as if this was “our” day.

 It came from York via Haworth and Keighley (The  French pronounciation was brilliant…..sounded like Kyley ), then skirted Hebden Bridge, went up Cragg Vale, through Ripponden….past a house I lived in 20 odd years ago, onto Huddersfield, and then south through Holmfirth and up the incredible Holme Moss, before getting to  Sheffield.

Hebden Bridge, the evening before le Tour arrived

Hebden street theatre

Jess and I walking along the canal, the evening before le Tour

A Hebden Bridge street party...just outside the Trades Club.

Decorated canal barge windows
 I have already posted about the preparations towns in West Yorkshire had made, and the last couple of days before Le Tour began saw even more yellow and red spotty things being arranged everywhere.

Hebden Bridge held a "Grand De Party" in the streets on Day 1. It was brilliant….the weather was glorious and the town was full of visitors who intended to enjoy themselves….and the residents of this fascinating little town always know how to do that.

The bridge...in Hebden Bridge, part of the street party

Decorations at the town hall

We left home at about 8am on the actual day…to get our viewing point  established. It was lovely, walking through the streets with no traffic. All through roads were closed by 6.30 am, and the checking and sweeping of the route began, prior to the handover from the local council, to Le Tour operators.

getting ready

 When we decided on our spot, we were the only people there, but within a short while, the roadside became crowded, and we were able to exchange Tour stories with our new roadside friends. The atmosphere was great.

early morning....we did not intend to miss a thing, and we picked a great spot

Although he roads were closed to all but Tour traffic, they were open for cyclists who wanted to ride the route….and many did. They all received huge cheers as they went past....especially young riders.

A young rider...in his Team Sky kit, enjoying the empty roads, testing out the route.
The caravan came through right on time, but was a little sparse, compared with the caravan we have seen in France. There were only a few decorated floats, but the Tour cars, police vehicles and gendarmes on motor bikes received massive cheers as they went through. One moto- cop managed to high five spectators as he went by.




Le Tour itself went by quickly, there was a 2 minute break away of a few riders, and then the peleton swept by…. I did manage to catch the yellow jersey….Kittel, the sprinter who had won the first stage in Harrogate. ( Who knows if Cav hadn’t been going for that gap that wasn’t really there…. Maybe, he would have been sweeping past us in yellow ).


Kittel in yellow
As soon as it had gone past, those of us by the roadside started to make a move. Some people went to the park to watch the rest of the race on the big screen, some wandered around the town, but we made our way home, all of about half a mile away. Everyone was smiling, …..Hebden Bridge had really enjoyed its Tour day, and I didn’t hear anyone moaning  !

just plenty of celebrations




The peleton was just about to arrive.....phones at the ready
We watched the huge crowds on Cragg Vale, and on Holme Moss on TV. It went without a hitch. Whatever was to happen next ( and as I write this, on day 6, there have been some pretty amazing scenes in France), we knew that Yorkshire had done the tour proud.

After the peleton had gone through, the crowds started to disperse

Press photo of Holme Moss

20 comments:

  1. Great post, Janice. You've given us a real flavour of the day, and wonderful that the weather was so good. The crowds were magnificent and played an enormous part in making the event such a success. Well done!

    It's a shame that Mark Cavendish and Chris Froome have abandoned the tour due to injury. It's certainly taken the shine off for us, although it's in circumstances such as these that the new order comes forward. Perhaps that little boy?

    Tom is flying the Team Sky colours on his long distance rides in Japan. Not certain he could manage Mount Ventoux though!

    Will you be able to view any more stages in France? The Tour gives our little corner a miss this year.

    Thanks for your comment re my retirement. You absolutely hit the spot and I really appreciate your words. I've no doubt that you also have wise words for Jess as she embarks on he future career. It is so much more than just a job. Our children deserve the very best and I'm sure they will be fortunate to have Jess. xx

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    1. The Tour has a depart from Carcassonne a week on Tuesday...so we'll be there ! We left Yorkshire the day after it came through Hebden Bridge, and have been following it live on French TV, with the ITV highlights in the evening, to check we have understood what has been going on.
      Mark and a friend he cycles with both wear their Sky shirts when they go out...someone pointed out to us that with lycra and helmets and sunglasses, you have to get pretty close to cyclists before you realise they are not 25 year olds,,,,
      Jess has spent a couple of afternoons at her new school...getting to know some of the children she will have next year, and her TA...she is very excited.
      Only a few days left now Gaynor. I will be thinking of you. Jx

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  2. Fantastic Janice. You Yorkshire people certainly know how to enter into the spirit of things. Great photos as usual which really show the wonderful atmosphere. xx

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    1. I know some Yorkshire people who would be horrified that you have referred to me with the phrase "you Yorkshire people"...... I am a "comer in"....only lived in Yorkshire for 25 years, so I have many more years to put in, and even then, I'll never be really accepted !
      However, I know what you mean.... I think Yorkshire has reason to be pleased with itself after last weekend. "It were a reet good do".

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  3. Love love love all your photos, Janice! What a wonderful atmosphere there seemed to be. We obviously got the same footage here as you described... thought our Optus IQ must have mucked up the recording as we missed HB!

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    1. I think as the tour just skirted Hebden, they felt it was the right spot for adverts !
      We had a brilliant day even if we didn't make it onto the TV.

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  4. Great story Janice. We watched a little of the Tour the first few days but the best part was reminiscing of the absolutely lovely day we spent with you at Hebden Bridge. Thank you once again for a great day. I actually bought a T Shirt of the 2014 Tour on the Champs Elycees before we came home. Bruce

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    1. I hope you are wearing the T shirt now, during the race Bruce.

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  5. What a super post, Janice. Your descriptions and wonderful pictures really get across the excitement, fun and party atmosphere. I'n so glad the weather came up trumps and that Yorkshire gave the Tour such a fantastic send-off. Not having TV in France, I've been relying on posts like this to give me the full story. :-)

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    1. It seems the weather was better in Yorkshire than in London on day 3, or any of the next 4 or 5 days here in France, there seems to have been rain every day so far....except in Yorkshire ! I am looking forward to seeing it when it comes down to southern France....I just love watching the mountain stages.

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  6. How very exciting, Janice, to have Le Tour coming right to Hebden Bridge. It is also very popular over here in Oz, via the TV. Love that street theatre, and the Street Party, on and around the bridge. And I vote Yellow + red polka dots a very stylish fashion combination :) Enjoy the French encounter! xxx

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    1. Hebden Bridge certainly knows how to do a street party...so with the good weather and all the Tour excitement, it was a wonderful weekend.

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  7. Funny, I recognised that busker in the stripy jumper right away -- I saw him in Whitby!
    http://www.blipfoto.com/entry/4372120

    I was glued to the Yorkshire stages on TV -- they were just wonderful. God's Own Country did itself proud. The French commentators were gobsmacked by the crowds, especially at Buttertubs and Holme Moss -- "You'd think it was the Alpe d'Huez!" It was funny hearing them try to pronounce Yorkshire place names too :)

    PS very glad you got the all clear, hope to see you in France soon!

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    1. I just loved the French versions of the Yorkshire towns, it was hilarious. We're back in France now, and looking forward to the tour coming to Carcassonne next week. Hoping we can catch up some time over the summer. Jx

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  8. Even though I'm a Moaning Minnie - we happened to travelling between Harrogate and Leeds on the day before Le Depart and we were excited to have a sneak preview of the weekend, as several teams were out practising!

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    1. As you have admitted to some excitement..... I will forgive you being a moaning minnie.....honestly Nilly, being in hebden Bridge last weekend could not have failed to bring a smile to the face of even the grouchiest anti Tour people !

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  9. Awesome post...you explained everything so well. Hebden bridge looks like a very nice place.....we are heading out to Brighton in Sept.....as my daughter and some friends will be going to Law School there for a couple of years....are you anywhere near there???
    thanks for sharing your post about the race......they really didn't follow it to much here.

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    1. Brighton is a great town...easy access to London, and an interesting town in itself....it is right on the south coast, about 300 miles from Hebden Bridge which is up in the north Erica. Anyway, we will still be in the south of France in September, so it doesn't seem we will manage to get together.....next time eh ! Jx

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  10. Good for you for seizing these moments, Janice, and thank you for giving me a roadside seat. I love this and am becoming accustomed to the best coverage of "Le Tour" in the world.

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    1. Thanks Penny... I'm now looking forward to watching ( and reporting on) the roll out from Carcassonne in just a few days time.

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