Sunday 6th July is rapidly approaching; and fans of the Tour are eagerly anticipating the arrival of the Grand Depart in Sheffield. The Steel City is expected to play host to 250,000 spectators when the peloton arrives; meaning that getting a good spot secured for watching the riders in advance is essential.
With that in mind; here’s a guide to 5 of the best places to watch the Tour de France in the Sheffield area. Being based in the city; Wheelie Good Guys are well placed to provide you with information on great vantage points to view the race. The places chosen provide varying backdrops to watch the Tour from – pick your favorite and happy viewing!
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Already extensively covered on this site; this really is a location that will provide a truly stunning backdrop to watch the race. This section of the Tour should also slow down the riders enough for spectators to obtain a good view of them as they pass. With an elevation gain of 350m and a maximum gradient of 14%; the Holme Moss Climb will significantly test the riders. Whilst the challenge presented by the daunting slopes may come too early for the leaders to stretch their legs; it will certainly ensure that those that lose time here may struggle to recover from the blow.
Sweeping Valleys, Rolling Moorland and Dizzying Views
Holme Moss has already been touted as a highlight of the whole of the 2014 Tour de France and it is easy to see why. The sweeping valleys, rolling moorland and dizzying views will make the viewing experience here unforgettable. Holme Moss will also provide fans watching there with the opportunity to see the riders approach from some distance away; ensuring the actual time they get to witness the peloton live will be far more extensive than in other areas. This is the furthest section away from Sheffield featured in this guide; but it is well worth the travel out to.
Another climb and another great vantage point from which to witness the Tour. Space will be more difficult to find here; with plenty of campsites based around the Oughtibridge area due to it being an excellent place to base for fans. With it being so popular with spectators; arriving early will be essential. The maximum gradient of 15% should ensure that the peloton slows again around this section; providing another great opportunity to watch the Tour up close without the riders moving at breakneck speed.
Steep from the Off
The initial section of the Jawbone Hill climb is actually steeper than the latter section; ensuring that the challenge presented to the peloton here will be draining. The climb is only 15km away from the end of Stage 2; ensuring its importance within the Tour.
An unlikely – but very serious – candidate for the most interesting place to witness the riders compete in the whole of the 2014 Grand Depart in Yorkshire. The climb has a thigh-shuddering maximum gradient of 33%; which will provide the tired legs of the peloton riders with an eye-watering challenge; sure to separate the key challengers from the rest of the pack. There will arguably not be a better place to witness the peloton up close; as the incline will guarantee the slowing of the race to a crawling pace.
Seldom Has There Been a Climb This Difficult
The Tour will seldom have encountered a section quite this difficult; and it is sure to provide a shock to the legs of the riders and be a magnificent place to view them travelling past. Again; it will be an extremely popular place to watch the event with Tour fans; so make sure you get there with plenty of time to ensure the best possible vantage point.
The three places detailed in this guide thus far have tried to suggest sections to view the race where it may slow significantly; but if you wish to view the peloton in Sheffield as more of a blur of speed, Meadowhall Road would be a great location to base your plans around. The end will be rapidly approaching as the race passes here; with cyclists starting to make that last push towards the finish.
Meadowhall’s Orange Zone car parks will play host to a free Tour de France Fan Fest; with giant screens, cycling coaching sessions, music from live bands and, most importantly; the chance to stand up close and personal with the competing cyclists as they streak passed. The experience will ensure that it will be a great place to base yourself amongst other Tour fans for the day of the race.
Don Valley Bowl
As one of the designated ‘Spectator Hubs’ for the 2014 Tour de France; Don Valley Bowl will play host to tens of thousands of fans; with a truly magnificent atmosphere guaranteed. The area will be absolutely teeming with Tour fans so an early start will be an absolute must. There are plenty of local attractions to make this a great place to spend a full day out; including the Sheffield ice-rink. Giant screens and large areas of green space are expected to be contributing factors to drawing over 40,000 fans here.
Stage 2 Finale
The Don Valley Bowl Spectator Hub will be right next to the finale of the race; where tension is sure to reach unprecedented levels as the riders make their last sprints towards the finish.
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None of the work that we do here at the Wheelie Good Guys would be possible without the kind sponsorship of Ian Brown. Ian is the UK Cycling Speedway Commissioner; as well as a personal injury solicitor for Wosskow Brown