Tour de Yorkshire's south to north dash brought people together - day two

Support for the rider during stage 2 of the Tour de Yorkshire 2019. Picture by Alex Broadway/SWpix.com.
Support for the rider during stage 2 of the Tour de Yorkshire 2019. Picture by Alex Broadway/SWpix.com.

With a history of coalmining, it was perhaps befitting a place with a heritage so synonymous with hard graft that the start of an intense 132km racing route began in Barnsley.

Around the familiar inflatable, double-Y starting line, spectators in hoods and carrying umbrellas gathered amid the drizzle to give the riders a proper

The start in Barnsley on day two of the 2019 Tour de Yorkshire. Picture by Chris Etchells.

The start in Barnsley on day two of the 2019 Tour de Yorkshire. Picture by Chris Etchells.

Yorkshire welcome as they crossed the start line outside Barnsley Town Hall, the focus switching from local election results to adrenaline-fuelled pedal power.

Day two of the 2019 Tour de Yorkshire took the cyclists - first the women and then the men racers - from south to north, initially through Royston and Pontefract, before crossing the River Aire at Castleford, passing through Kippax, the Best Dressed Village winner from last year’s race, and then haring on around the eastern and northern fringes of Leeds.

At Shadwell, Jayne Mellor watched on with her children Jacob, six, and Ellie, four.

“It’s a great event to come and watch when you have kids. They get so excited about their village being on TV,” she said.

“I love how it brings people together and gets them chatting on the pavement as they wait, even if it is a case of blink and you’ll miss them!”

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As the cyclists reached Pool-in-Wharfedale, at around the halfway point, the crowd was in good spirits.

There was bunting, and beer, and with the village school closing early to accommodate road closures, generations of families were gathered in a great crowd at the base of the village’s famous hill.

Cheers rose as the first break-out cyclists whizzed past and waves and whistles broke out for the cameras and whirring helicopters overhead as the main peloton descended.

This is a community accustomed to the thrill of the race, having hosted the Grand Départ in 2014 and having featured in four more Tours since. There was no sense of fatigue though.

The village was decked with yellow and blue flags, and a string of white roses.

“It’s wonderfully exciting, and brilliant for Yorkshire,” said village vicar Father David Wheeler, of St Wilfrid’s Church. “It really brings communities together and I’m so impressed with the coordination.”

Mia Steele brought sons Oliver, five, and Zachary, two, while Jenny Pattinson had daughters Daisy, five, and Polly, four.

“The mums are all here, the kids are happy. We have wine,” they laughed. “The weather’s rubbish, but what does it matter? It’s about community spirit - it’s a great atmosphere.”

Perhaps the energy of the crowd was a timely boost, as the riders pressed on to face the Côte de Lindley, a 1.5km climb at a gradient of 7.4 per cent, afterwards arriving in Harrogate, passing the historic Royal Pump Room on a circuit that will be used in the upcoming UCI World Championships.

The race powered onwards to Ripon, passing close to the cathedral, then through the villages of North Stainley and West Tanfield, before a sprint finish into Bedale, which was playing host for the Tour for the first time.

A “brutal” weekend of racing lies ahead, organisers said, with thousands more people likely to swell the roadside crowds during the bank holiday.