Party atmosphere created in Wakefield for Tour de Yorkshire
A party atmosphere was created in Wakefield for the start of final day of the inaugural Tour de Yorkshire.
Hundreds of people were in the city centre to try and catch a glimpse of the world’s cycling elite ahead of the Sunday lunchtime start.
A group of school children started the proceedings by cycling the first kilometre of the route dressed in yellow jerseys.
And they helped to get the excitement building as the professional riders took the starting line.
Chants of “Wiggo, Wiggo” came from the crowd as Sir Bradley Wiggins lined up to lead his own team, Team Wiggins.
Wakefield Council chief executive Joanne Roney cut the ribbon and the riders started a 4km neutralised (ceremonial) start, in front of Wakefield Cathedral, ahead of the real racing.
The cyclists, including Tour de France winner Mr Wiggins and two time Olympic medallist Ed Clancy from Huddersfield, rode through the city centre as huge cheers erupted from the crowd.
Mrs Roney said: “It was terrific to hear how loud the crowd was as the cyclists started. Everyone has made it such a special event for Wakefield.”
An estimated 20,000 people lined the route in the city to watch the race.
Wakefield Council leader Coun Peter Box said he is delighted Wakefield will play a part in creating history.
He added: “The weather isn’t perfect but that hasn’t stopped people coming in numbers to see the race.
“There are two elements which are key. One is getting more people out cycling and we want to build on what the Tour de France did last year. Secondly businesses are benefiting from having the world’s best cyclists come here.”
Crowds also lined the roads as the race winded through the city from and past The Hepworth Wakefield, which was a popular vantage point.
The gallery was full of families and schoolchildren who enjoyed lots of activities while they waited for the riders.
And at the official start line (the zero kilometre point) by Castle Grove Park on Barsnley Road, and close to Agbrigg Road, where the crowds were standing at least four deep.
The first hints the supporters got that the cyclists were heading their way was a team of motorbike out-riders streamed by and a TV helicopter hovered overhead.
Cheers greeted the riders at the junction of Agbrigg Road.
They hurtled by in moments as the bells of St Helen’s Sandal Magna Church which rang out long after the peloton had departed.
The riders then headed out to Newmillerdam, Notton and Woolley before crossing the border into South Yorkshire.
To watch a live feed of the rest of the day’s racing click here http://www.wakefieldexpress.co.uk/live/event?1212832And click here for more on the historic day in Wakefield http://www.wakefieldexpress.co.uk/news/local-news/tour-de-yorkshire-to-make-history-in-wakefield-1-7242189