Tour de Yorkshire to scale the artistic and cultural heights

The opening stage of the 2015 Tour de Yorkshire in Scarborough.
The opening stage of the 2015 Tour de Yorkshire in Scarborough.
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It has always been more than just a mere bike race but the second edition of the Tour de Yorkshire is set to become the most memorable weekend of the year after organisers announced an exciting programme of sport, art and cultural events for each start and finish town.

The men’s race takes place over three days from Friday April 29 to Sunday May 1 with the Asda Women’s Tour de Yorkshire staged on Saturday April 30.

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On Friday, former Olympic track cyclist Rebecca Romero will join the crowds at the start of Stage One in Beverley, where thousands of schoolchildren will gather to watch stunt riders show off their skills. There will also be fitness events, mascots and a big screen to watch the action unfold.

For the stage finale in Settle, spectators will be treated to circus entertainment, magic shows, and a special Kamishibai performance – a form of traditional storytelling originating in Japan - featuring local tales from the WR Mitchell archive. The Greenfoot Festival Fanzone will also have a big screen and street entertainment, including a bicycle drummer and the New York Brass Band, BMX stunt team, bicycle powered activities, as well as food and drink stalls.

To mark the beginning of Stage Two and the start of the women’s race, Otley will host a day of family entertainment, featuring street theatres, bands and musicians who will perform at ‘busk stops’ across the town centre.

At the finish line in Doncaster, actors, storytellers and singers will come together for The Great Big Donco – a showcase of arts and culture which has been co-commissioned by the Yorkshire Festival team. There will also be a fan park at Doncaster Town Field Sports Club and street performers, including Granny Turismo.

There will be a big send-off for the peloton from Centre Square, in Middlesbrough, on Sunday, followed by the Enjoy the Ride Carnival and bike parade inspired by the voyages of Captain Cook. A town centre community stage and street theatre add to the festivities. A fun day is also planned for Stewart Park for those who wish to spot the peloton from Captain Cook’s birthplace.

In a thrilling climax to the race, musicians, street performers and singers will be on hand to entertain spectators in Scarborough. The packed programme of events will feature performances by the Coastival choir outside the Rotunda Museum, a vintage band and music stage with Yorkshire Coast College on South Bay, and street theatre, as well as an after party at Farrer’s Bar and Brasserie at Scarborough Spa.

Welcome to Yorkshire chief executive Sir Gary verity said: “It’s fantastic that each of the start and finish towns for the Tour de Yorkshire and the Asda Women’s Tour de Yorkshire Race will be hosting exciting family-friendly events to entertain spectators and create a real buzz on the streets.

“The Tour de Yorkshire offers a unique opportunity for towns across the county to showcase themselves to the world, and as we enter into the last month of preparations I am sure that local communities will be vying to create exciting land art, fun and engaging street decorations and an atmosphere to remember.”

“The events in start and finish towns are being delivered by local communities and will give crowds a taste of what to expect during the Yorkshire Festival which is taking place between 16th June and 3rd July.”

The announcement follows last week’s news that Yorkshire’s own World Champion Lizzie Armitstead will compete in the Asda Women’s Tour de Yorkshire Race. With a prize fund of more than £50,000, this makes it the most lucrative race in the world.

The 18 men’s teams and 14 women’s teams which will compete in the race have also been announced.