Itís power to le pedal!
Reporter: HELEN KORN
Date online: 18 January 2013
LOCAL businesses and cycling fans are gearing up for the world’s biggest free sporting event coming within a few miles of the borough.
In 2014 stage two of the world famous Tour de France will pass through Last of the Summer Wine country at Holmfirth.
The 125-mile stage - on Sunday, July 5 - will also include the iconic climb at Holme Moss, previously a part of the Tour of Britain race.
The massive cycling event should mean a huge boost in trade for shops, restaurants and hotels in the Saddleworth area, as visitors flock from around the world to watch.
Natalee Goas, business development manager at The Old Bell, Delph is thrilled about the news.
“There will be so many people coming from everywhere to see the race — we can put them all up in our 18 bedrooms and cater for them in our restaurant,” she laughed.
“With all the bad news about Lance Armstrong I think it’s time people saw what a great sport it is.”
Tim Mitchell, of Saddleworth Clarion Cycling Club, said members are already planning to camp out along the route: “When we heard the news it was just so exciting. This like having the World Cup of cycling virtually on our doorstep.
“We regularly ride the Holmfirth to Hebden Bridge route and it’s tough - so to see the world’s best on it will be fantastic.”
Women’s world road race champion of 1982, Mandy Bishop - now a director of Surosa Cycles in Huddersfield Road, added her delight that the race will come to the region.
“We’ve noticed a huge increase in cycling over the last few years,” she said. “It’s a great that people will be able to see a massive event like this so close to home. All we need now is a nice summer!”
Seventeen-year-old Jake Ragan - recently added to the Olympic development squad for the Brazil Games - is over the moon. Dad Mark, can’t wait to get involved.
“We went to Paris for the final and there were a million people on the streets — it was amazing and I hope it has the same reception here. I hope there are support races to encourage people in Oldham to cycle.”
Larry Wells — dad of U14 national champion cyclist Matthew — said they were both ecstatic that the route was coming so close to home.
“We were going to trek over to Leeds to see it but the fact that it’s going to be more or less on our doorstep is brilliant!” he said.
This will be the second time Britain has hosted the Grand Depart and the fourth visit in all following a single stage in Plymouth in 1974 and two across the south of England 20 years later.
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