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|
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.
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|