THOUSANDS of tourists will line the streets when the world’s biggest cycle race comes to the Calder Valley in 2014.
Hebden Bridge, Cragg Vale, Mytholmroyd and Pecket Well are set to feature prominently in stage two of next year’s Tour de France and local councillors and businessmen have welcomed the potential visitor and economic boost.
A Calderdale Council spokesperson said one of the benefits of hosting the Tour will be the economic boost to the area and visitors to the event could bring around £30 million to Yorkshire and an estimated £3 million to Calderdale.
John Ainscough of Blazing Saddles in Market Street, Hebden Bridge, said he hoped the decision would generate more business in the Calder Valley.
“It is certainly a scenic route and we have got all our industrial heritage, here and en route to Sheffield,” he said. “There was a massive surge in interest in cycling following the Olympics and it’s been a great year for the sport because of that.
“I would hope that local businesses could capitalise on the fact that a stage of the premier cycling race in the world is being held here. For it to pass through Calderdale is massive.”
Stage two of the Tour de France will start in York, heading for Knaresborough, the site of Mother Shipton’s Cave, then onto Bolton Abbey, Keighley, the Bronte village of Haworth, then over to Pecket Well, Hebden Bridge and Mytholmroyd.
From there, it is up Cragg Vale, then into the spine of the Pennines, being Huddersfield, Holmfirth and the High Peaks. Next is Holme Moss, descending into Sheffield where Stage Two will finish.
Cragg Road, Cragg Vale, is England’s longest continuous hill climb and the news that it will feature in the tour has been met with delight from local councillors and residents.
Calder Ward Councillor Janet Battye said: “It’s absolutely wonderful news. It’s a New Year’s wish come true. I certainly intend to be stood there watching it.
“It will bring people into the Calder Valley and it’s good news for all our local businesses.”
Hebden Royd Town Councillor for the Cragg Vale Ward Scott Trickett said: “When I was mayor last year I wrote in support of the Tour de France coming to this area, particularly Cragg Vale. I’m proud to have this event coming through the Calder Valley. While we’ll receive a lot of visitors during the event, which will boost business and tourism in the short term, the fact we’ll be on the world stage will create a lasting legacy for the local economy here in the Calder Valley.”
Luddenden Foot Ward Councillor Simon Young said: “I’m thrilled that Cragg Vale and Hebden Bridge will form part of the Yorkshire leg of the Tour de France. This is amazing news for the Calder Valley, yet I must admit, I didn’t doubt for a second that we would be included.
“Cragg Vale boasts England’s longest continuous incline, reaching over 1000 feet above sea level. The winding heather-clad route of Cragg Road will be a major challenge for cyclists rising 968 feet over 5.5 miles. But at least they get to enjoy some amazing scenery in the process!
“Who would have thought back in July, when Calder Valley was plagued by the terrible floods, that we’d be celebrating being part of one the world’s biggest and best classic sporting events.
“Over 3billion people watch the Tour de France on TV every year, so this represents a huge, once in a lifetime opportunity to showcase to the world the wonderful area we live in. Hopefully it will also bring about a much=needed boost to the local economy too.”
Calder Ward Councillor Nader Fekri said: “Absolutely brilliant news that the Tour de France is going to include Hebden Bridge and the Upper Calder Valley. I hope you’re all dusting off the lycra!”
The first stage will leave Leeds, head for Harewood House and onto Otley, home of Olympic Silver medallist Lizzie Armistead. From there it is over Ilkley Moor, to Skipton, through Wharfedale, to Aysgarth Falls and to Buttertubs pass
The first two stages of next year’s Tour will be held in Yorkshire - on July 5 and 6 - while the third stage will finish in London before heading to France.
l See what our reporter Aban Quaynor thinks of the news in this week’s Hebden Bridge Times (January 24, 2013).