It is now just 22 days until the start of the 2014 Tour de France. Months of preparation are set to come to a head right across the UK; as the Grand Depart makes its entrance there. Yorkshire in particular is being widely touted as arguably the best place to watch this year’s Tour; and we at Wheelie Good Guys are continuing to bring you exclusive, unique build-up to the event.
We have made a point since this website began of trying to provide fans with some of the best tips on where the best places are to watch the event in the Yorkshire area. It might be however; that you would rather soak up the atmosphere on a big screen, or through interaction with other fans on a mass scale.
For that; we have come up with a guide on some of the fan parks and spectator hubs that are expected to draw fans in their thousands; ensuring that those locations are going to provide a magnificent spectacle from which to base yourself around for the event:
Harrogate Fan Park Presented by Nuffield Health
20,000+ fans expected
Right next to the Stage 1 finish line in the Spa town of Harrogate; this fan park will provide a great location to base yourself for the tour; as the Harrogate district will play home to both Stage One and Stage Two of the Tour on separate days. The inaugural Fan Park in Yorkshire will bring a great celebration of cycling for the region with it; in an idyllic setting that will provide an excellent platform from which fans can base themselves for the Yorkshire Grand Depart.
‘The Best Supporter Experience’
The Harrogate location forms one of four of these parks – the others are in Green Park, Trafalgar Square and Canary Wharf – that will be the official fan entertainment zones for the tour de France in the UK. The park’s teams are working with major public bodies including Transport for London, The Royal Parks, the GLA and Harrogate Council to deliver the best supporter experience.
Exposure to the Cycling World
The fan parks will be operated by Velo-GoGo in partnership with ASO (owners of the Tour). Velo-GoGo work to bring interactive cycling content and new experiences to the sport-loving British public whilst opening doorways for partners to get exposure to the cycling world.
There are plenty of official Spectator Hubs right across Yorkshire that will each provide their own unique atmosphere for fans watching the Tour there. We have chosen the ones that we think will provide the best supporter experience.
The Headrow; Leeds – Stage 1 Race Start
25,000 fans expected
The streets of Leeds will be lined with thousands upon thousands of fans for the start of the race. Next to the Art gallery at Victoria Gardens will be the first of many Spectator Hubs along the route of the 2014 Tour de France.
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Scott Hall Playing Fields; Leeds – Stage 1
10,000+ fans expected
Scott Hall will provide an excellent platform from which to view the riders up close. As one of Leeds’ most well known playing fields; this family hub will play host to a giant screen allowing fantastic views of the riders and the Official tour Caravan. Extra facilities expected onsite include activities for families such as British Cycling Go Ride; as well as onsite catering.
Riverside Gardens; Ilkley – Stage 1
5,000 fans expected
The picturesque location of Riverside Gardens – in the spa town of Ilkley – will run adjacent to the River Wharfe. The hub will run over 2 days; and is expected to be extremely popular with fans. Its facilities will include two giant screens, plenty of catering facilities and neighbouring cycle parking.
Aysgarth National Park Centre – Stage 1
1,500 fans expected
Set in the beautiful area of Wensleydale; this Spectator Hub will provide fans with the opportunity to explore the surrounding area once they have finished – or before they enter. It will provide a smaller, more intimate venue for fans; but is still expected to stir up a great atmosphere. The nearby waterfalls are stunning; and will make the visit for fans extra special.
York Racecourse – Stage 2 Race Start
25,000 fans expected
The second day of the race will kick off in spectacular fashion; inside York Racecourse; before the peloton begins to win its way through this historic walled city. Tickets are fast selling out for the Spectator Hub here; but even basing yourself around it would ensure a memorable Grand Depart experience – with a guaranteed great atmosphere.
Knaresborough Castle – Stage 2
4,000 fans expected
Located in the ruins of Knaresborough Castle – just a few hundred metres from the route of the race – this will provide an excellent historic platform from which to witness the passing of the peloton. The venue is expected to be popular with both families and cycling enthusiasts alike; with a local food market and large screen two of the highlights.
Sands Recreation Ground Holmfirth – Stage 2
10,000+ fans expected
As we’ve previously mentioned on this site; Holmfirth is set to be one of the most popular locations across the entire 2014 tour de France route. Near to the awe-inspiring Holme Moss climb, this Spectator Hub will include an array of amenities; ranging from a local food and drink market to a 10,000-strong yellow Duck Race for Holmfirth!
2,500+ fans expected
As the race draws near to the conclusion of the second stage in Sheffield, Coronation Park will provide a fantastic location from which to witness the spectacle. Nearby to one of our tips for the best places to watch the event in Sheffield – the Jawbone hill climb – it is sure to appeal to thousands of race fans thanks to its prime location and excellent facilities; including a large screen.
Don Valley Bowl Sheffield
10,000 fans expected
Finally; Don Valley Park will also be an extremely popular place from which to view this year’s Tour de France. In the fantastically green city of Sheffield; this suitably aesthetic location will ensure a brilliant end place for Stage 2. Added cycling facilities, a giant screen and the neighboring ice-rink will make Don Valley Bowl very popular with Tour fans.