Tour organisers ready for weather and spectator challenges of hosting Grand Depart

UK Tour de France chiefs are confident their plans can cater to weather and spectator challenges, despite the fact over half of the contingency budget has been spent.

Team Sky cyclists Richie Porte and Chris Froome ride up the cobbles in Haworth on a recce for Stage 2 of the Tour de France in Yorkshire. Picture by Tony Johnson
Team Sky cyclists Richie Porte and Chris Froome ride up the cobbles in Haworth on a recce for Stage 2 of the Tour de France in Yorkshire. Picture by Tony Johnson

Nicky Roche, chief executive of the Government’s Tour organising body TDFHUB2014 Ltd, has stated it is “leaving no stone unturned” as the countdown to the July 5 and 6 Yorkshire Grand Depart continues.

Tour bid winners Welcome to Yorkshire have meanwhile announced that the leaders of all three main UK political parties are hoped to visit Yorkshire during the Grand Depart weekend, after the visits of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry were confirmed for July 5.

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She has been speaking to The YP in the wake of the release of TDFHUB2014’s final ‘readiness’ report last week, which showed final plans are coming together while stating challenges such as the impact of possible bad weather and crowd management lay ahead.

It revealed around £1.26m of its £2m contingency fund had been spent on things including £100,000 on supporting crowd management, safety, security and traffic management at Holme Moss during the July 6 stage two.

Stating organisers have been working with the UK’s top crowd safety experts, Mrs Roche said: “The absolute priority has been crowd safety. One of the things was Holme Moss and, having surveyed the public, lots more people now want to go to Holme Moss. We have been working with all the public sector agencies and released contingency because it’s important we keep people safe.”

She added: “My expectation is there will be a large chunk of contingency left for the race.”

Forecasting a huge economic boost to the region as millions of fans prepare to visit, the report also made clear that Le Tour remains in line with its £27m budget.

TDFHUB2014 has been working with local authorities, transport and emergency services to refine its plans for Le Tour, and further work will be done when special multi-agency control rooms are established from June 30. And with Yorkshire’s unpredictable weather considered a factor, water reserves for crowd hotspots and extra Yorkshire Water piping are considered.

Mrs Roche said: “We have plans at a general level. With the Tour organisers, the Tour doesn’t really stop for anything.”

Among other preparations, TDFHUB2014 has overseen the organisation of over 100km of barriers and fencing, 24 spectator hubs, more than 30,000 traffic cones, 2,500 radios, 5,000 road signs, 7,000 stewards and 2,000 temporary toilets for Le Tour’s UK visit.

The world’s greatest cyclists will roll from the startline at Leeds’ Headrow before cycling 190km to Harrogate via the Yorkshire Dales on July 5, before taking on the July 6 York to Sheffield stage two and Cambridge to London stage three the following day.

“It will be one of the biggest events we have ever had in the UK and one of the biggest sporting events this decade,” Mrs Roche added. “We really want to do the region and the county proud.”