York Racecourse Unveils Tour de France Plans
4:35pm 27th June 2014
The excitement is building as York Racecourse prepares to host the start of day two of The Grand Départ of the Tour de France, on Sunday 6 July.
One hundred and ninety- eight professional riders, the eighty vehicles in the Publicity Caravan, famous music artists of the 70s and 80s, the RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, Harry the retired racehorse, demonstrations from cycling, horseracing, hockey, tennis, netball, football, volleyball, cricket and rugby, a light tank as well as some 25,000 visitors are all getting ready for the big day.
The Knavesmire team has been working closely with Welcome to Yorkshire and City of York Council since the technical bid was submitted in 2012 and now the finishing touches are being applied with ASO and its partners, ahead of a memorable occasion.
The free public tickets were snapped up in just four hours and their lucky holders can look forward to an event that will start early as both the technical crews behind the teams of riders and the Publicity Caravan vehicles assemble in the racecourse coach parks.
By eight o’clock a range of activities will already be underway with visitors able to try their hand at a number of sporting events; understandably for this week various forms of cycling and lawn tennis will be prominent with rugby union, York City, netball, cricket and hockey offering team games. The absence of any formal dress code gives people a chance to dress to take part.
Breakfast, from a bacon butty to a croissant, will be available from when the gates open at 7.30am, though some may choose to use the picnic areas and save themselves for a Dales ice cream or Sunday Lunch.
The spectacle of the Publicity Caravan is set to roll in front of the racecourse stands at nine o’clock, for those new to the Tour de France, think Notting Hill Carnival only a bit faster moving; be in position to catch the freebies handed out by the teams.
Television networks from over 180 countries will be taking pictures of the race itself and the French broadcaster is using the racecourse to produce a one hour live special, between 10am and 11am. A music stage opposite the Ebor Stand will play host to two fantastic live acts; The Rubettes performing “Sugar Baby Love” their 1974 number one hit, followed by the Stranglers offering a short set to include their biggest UK single success, “Golden Brown”.
At 11am, all cameras and all eyes will be on the betting ring and pathway round to the Parade Ring as the cyclists themselves sign in and then head through the arch that denotes the official start. The two hundred riders will head out through the northern gate of the racecourse passing both the Parade Ring on their left and the Champagne Terrace on their right.
Two giant screens and the many televisions around the course will track the rider’s progress as they make their way past the sights of York before hitting the open road on their 201km race to Sheffield.
As the afternoon unfolds, some of the televisions will switch to allow visitors to follow both the British Grand Prix and the Men’s Final at Wimbledon.
Throughout the event, the sporting displays including the climbing wall and the giant funfair will offer fun for those feeling energetic whereas others may choose to enjoy the benches dotted around the lawns.
The University of York is staging a major exhibition to showcase many different facets of its life, visitors will be able to find out more about topics as varied as Archaeology, the Biodiversity and Ecosystem Service Sustainability Programme or the Bike Rescue Project .
Everyone hopes the weather will be kind, especially the crews of the Lancaster, Hurricane and Spitfire that form the RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight as at around 10.50am, faces will turn skywards as they intend to perform a flypast, to both add a memory to this occasion and evoke a memory of another time that saw France and Yorkshire sharing history.
With the cyclists set to reach Sheffield between 4pm and 5pm, the excitements of the day will draw to a close leaving the racecourse team to prepare for their next racedays just six days later, on Friday 11 July and Saturday 12 July.
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