High-tech tractors to get crowds online at rural Tour de France hubs

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Tractors will give Tour de France fans in rural Grand Depart fanzones a technological boost by sending out wifi internet signals on July 5 and 6.

Two vehicles have been given a high-tech makeover that will see them create a free wifi hotspot to anyone within 500metres of them, meaning Tour spectators can get internet access in remote places en route.

The tractors will park up at the Yorkshire Dales National Park Centre in Hawes and the Grassington visitor centre, which will collectively host around 8,000 fans during the July 5 Leeds to Harrogate stage one.

They will then roll up at the Steel Stage event at High Bradfield and at Holme, at the foot of the Holme Moss climb, on day two thanks to the National Farmers’ Union (NFU), Massey Ferguson and Avonline.

“We are really excited about this project and we hope it will add to people’s enjoyment of what will be an amazing event,” said NFU regional director Richard Pearson.

“Farmers across Yorkshire are gearing up to welcome tens of thousands of people for the Tour, showcasing the fabulous food and scenery for which the county is famous.”

Whether it be through high-tech tractors, campsites or first aid precautions, the impact of the Le Tour’s impending arrival is being planned for by all.

The Yorkshire Air Ambulance (YAA), which operates two helicopters to respond to emergencies in the county, has unveiled its plans as the emergency services prepare for 3m visitors to Yorkshire during the July 5 and 6 Grand Depart.

The two current YAA helicopters will be located at the charity’s bases at the Nostell Estate, in Wakefield, and at RAF Topcliffe, near Thirsk, while the third will be placed along the race routes.

It will be situated at Wathgill Camp, Richmond, on day one and near Ripponden village, close to Halifax, during stage two the following day.

The YAA’s chief pilot, Captain Andy Lister, said the expected influx of spectators across Yorkshire combined with rural road closures are behind the decision.