The message was relayed at last Wednesday’s Tour de Yorkshire roadshow held at Driffield Showground’s Rix Pavilion, an event designed to help firms and the community maximise the opportunities presented by the Tour which takes place from Friday 28th to Sunday 30th April.
Around 50 people were in the audience to gather information presented by Welcome to Yorkshire’s Operations Director, Bob Brayshaw, Leader of East Riding of Yorkshire Council, Cllr Stephen Parnaby , and Welcome to Yorkshire’s Special Operations Executive, Claudine Shaw.
Opening the roadshow, Councillor Parnaby was quick to congratulate the people of Driffield for their efforts in getting the Tour to the town and urged the community to come out in force.
“The Tour de Yorkshire is great news for the area and 2017 is the first of a three-year deal the East Riding of Yorkshire Council have signed with Welcome to Yorkshire which will see a start or finish,” he explained.
“The Tour is now the biggest tourist event in Yorkshire and we are expecting 30,000 people at the start and two million people overall, with 11 million watching on television as well.
“It’s huge for the area and encourages people to come back.
“It’s an event that heavily relies on community groups and, in order to maximise Driffield’s opportunity, the quirkier ideas people have, the better.
“I’d like to applaud the people of Driffield for their lobbying over recent years that has put them on this year’s route.
“The Tour may seem a long way off, but it really is just days away now. Yorkshire is the capital of cycling and the East Riding of Yorkshire Council wants to be a part of it.”
The stage was then set for Mr Brayshaw, who, in his role as Operations Director puts together the routes for the race’s three stages, to explain some of the history of how the Tour de Yorkshire came to being after the area staged the 2014 Grand Depart of the Tour de France.
Mr Brayshaw was also keen to emphasise the community and economic benefits the Tour can bring as well as the decisions when planning each stage.
“The cycling part of the event is the catalyst for communities to come together,” he said.
“In other towns, we have heard from people who now speak to their neighbours, having never previously spoken.
“In 2016, two million people lined the streets over three stages, which studies show made £60 million for the area.
“This year, it’s again a three-stage race, although we are looking to extend it to four days.
“Stage 1 is a medium level stage, suitable for both sprinters and climbers and starts in Bridlington and finishes in Scarborough.
“Stage 2, from Tadcaster to Harrogate, is a flat stage designed for sprinters with just one climb towards the end, whilst Stage 3 is a brutal stage, with eight climbs along the way from Bradford to Fox Valley.
“When making the decisions on the stage routes, I’ve got to make sure the race isn’t over at the end of Stage 1, so I have to choose the right type of terrain to keep everyone interested.
“It wasn’t possible to put Driffield on a stage last year, but I made sure it was one of the first on the list this year.
Here are the full details of this year’s route:
• 28th April Stage 1 – Bridlington (Start), Burton Agnes, Driffield, Pocklington, Pickering, Goathland, Whitby, Robin Hood’s Bay, Scarborough (Finish).
• 29th April Stage 2 – Tadcaster (Start), Wetherby, Knaresborough, Ripley, Pateley Bridge, Ramsgill, Masham, West Tanfield, Ripon, Harrogate (Finish).
• 30th April Stage 3 – Bradford (Start), Saltaire, Ilkley, Addingham, Bolton Abbey, Skipton, Keighley, Haworth, Halifax, Holmfirth, Penistone, Fox Valley (Finish)
The roadshow also gave further details as to what will take place in Driffield when the Tour arrives on Friday 28th April, a summary of which is as follows:
• No final timings have been decided for the start or finish of Stage 1. However, the provisional timings are for a 12:30pm start in Bridlington with the cyclists arriving in Driffield shortly after.
• Roads in Driffield will be closed for between 30 and 45 minutes.
• Police motorcycles will arrive in Driffield one hour and a half before the race arrives, along with a Mercedes Sprinter van to make final checks.
• 30 further police motorcycles will then close the roads supported by 25 non-police motorcycles.
• These will be followed by a BMW X5 command vehicle in which the race commissaire will be seated.
• Next to arrive will be the cyclists who, at the point they enter Driffield, should still be in a tightly-bunched group.
• Behind the cyclists will be another 80-90 vehicles including two cars per team, television crews, press, VIPs, doctors, paramedics and four ambulances.
Two hours before the race reaches Driffield, 10 publicity caravans will stop briefly to hand out merchandise to the expectant throng of supporters.
Although the caravans will not be stopping at every venue on the route, Driffield is expected to be one of the destinations.
There will also be an ambassadors caravan that will stop at certain venues, in which five ex-professional cyclists will be on hand to take selfies and sign autographs.
Tour Makers, the passionate and reliable volunteers who will welcome spectators along the route, are a key component of the event with over 1,300 people registering for the role last year.
Mr Brayshaw urged people in Driffield to sign up for 2017, with full training provided by Welcome to Yorkshire.
Premises in Driffield are being sought as a base for the Tour Makers during the race.
The event was rounded off by Claudine Shaw, Welcome to Yorkshire’s Special Operations Executive, who gave advice on how to get involved with the Tour on social media and ideas on how the community can get involved, some of which can be seen at www.letour.yorkshire.com.