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Y14 – the countdown to the Tour De France Grand Depart begins!

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Y14 – the countdown to the Tour De France Grand Depart begins!

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Y14 - Grimethorpe Colliery Band

March 27th, 2014

Having just spent the day at Y14 (the official tourism and business event held in Harrogate marking the 100 day countdown to Yorkshire’s Grand Depart of the Tour de France) I am in no doubt that it is going to be the grandest Grand Depart of all!

Gary Verity, Chief Executive of ‘Welcome to Yorkshire’, kicked off the conference talking about how he had followed his dream to bring the Grand Depart to Yorkshire and how the whole county had got behind it in a united fashion. There was a whole host of other speakers including Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, but for me the most moving special guest was cycling legend Brian Robinson who, in 1958, was the first Brit to win a stage at the Tour de France.  Now quite an elderly gentleman, Brian looked visibly moved to tears when asked what he thought about Le Tour coming to Yorkshire.  He was then asked if he still managed to get on his bike and caused a ripple of laughter when he admitted that he only managed a mere 40 or so miles a week now!

The other star of the show had to be Amanda Owen, the shepherdess from The TV programme The Dales.  She was interviewed holding baby number 7, whom she almost dropped whilst grabbing her newly written book to give it a plug!

The artistic director of an artistic dance/cycling project called ‘Ghost Peleton’ described how cycling is a ‘beautiful sport’ and that cyclists embody the the same traits as her dancers – willpower, determination and a desire to do something amazing.  Ghost Peleton is a public art performance showing in Central Leeds on the 16th and 17th May which fuses together film and live art as part of the Yorkshire Festival.  Bringing together dancers and a peleton of illuminated cyclists, Ghost Peleton is one of the main commissions for the Yorkshire Festival and will mark the build up to the Tour de France – and looks like an inspiring event not to be missed!

Martin Green, the mastermind behind the Grand Depart’s Team Presentation ceremony and Head of Ceremonies for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games assured us that he isn’t known for ‘small events’ – so I think we can look forward to something truly amazing for the ceremony to be held at the Leeds Arena on the 3rd July (and I for one will be straight on the website for tickets as soon as they are released!)

Other interesting news at Y14 was that Cycle Yorkshire had just launched its new app this morning as part of its 10 year journey promoting cycling as the route to health and happiness.  Gary Verity also announced that they are in the final stages of an agreement to bring an international cycling event to Yorkshire on an annual basis.

The conference closed to the sounds of The Grimethorpe Colliery Band and Alistair Griffin playing the official song of the Grand Depart (thanks to @swpixtweets for the pic!)

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