Video: Tour de Yorkshire finish in Leeds hits the high notes
Roundhay Park in Leeds has played host to some of the biggest names in music over the years, from The Rolling Stones to Robbie Williams.
Come stage three of the Tour de Yorkshire, however, and it was an impressive array of top bike riders who were proving a hit.
By mid-afternoon the rain of the morning had been forgotten as the sun shone as crowds gathered to cheer home some of the amateur cyclists taking part in the days curtain raiser mass participation event.
Fans waiting on a Princes Avenue flanked by big screens, corporate and commentary tents and stalls, included Lorna Lindley, of Moortown, Leeds and her 10-year-old granddaughter Charlotte.
Lorna said: “We have come down to join in with the atmosphere. It is great to have something like this on your doorstep, although I went to Scarborough for the race on Friday and that was good as well.”
Elsewhere in the crowd was Manfred Schrewe who was visiting Leeds from his home near Frankfurt in Germany to see his grandchildren.
He said: “It is definitely a great advertisement for Leeds.”
His 10-year-old granddaughter, Annika, added: “The park is very different to how it normally looks. We are having a really nice time.”
It was a great finish to a damp start but even that failed to stop the crowds in Wakefield where streets were filled with flag-waving and cheering spectators. School children started the proceedings by cycling the first kilometre of the route dressed in yellow jerseys.
Then crowds standing at least five deep erupted with cheers as the professional riders made their way towards the start line in front of Wakefield Cathedral. Chants of “Wiggo, Wiggo” echoed around the market place as Sir Bradley Wiggins acknowledged his fans. The riders hurtled through the city centre in just a few minutes to applause and cheers, but they made a lasting impression.
For people like Phil Townsend, from Wrenthorpe, who spent hours soaking up the atmosphere, pride in his home city gave the day huge meaning.
He said: “It is wonderful to see Wakefield at the heart of such a big event. I saw a couple of days at the Tour de France last year and the atmosphere is on par with that. It shows there is an appetite for cycling in the city.”
The creativity and community spirit of the upper Calder Valley was also showcased for all to see as thousands flocked to events celebrating the arrival of the race.
In Ripponden there was a backdrop of donkeys and miniature trains as the village held its annual gala and Stones Methodist Church, which installed a massive blue bike outside the building, held a special fun day.
Minister Francis Neil said: “It’s a big day for the community, we couldn’t wait to celebrate the day again.
“It’s important to bring the community together for events like this.”
In Addingham David Cameron made an appearance among the crowds, relaxing ahead of the election.
While in Hebden Bridge, the town’s beer and cider festival allowed visitors to wet their whistle while the Hebden Bridge Junior Brass Band provided entertainment.
Mum Julie Buchanan, 53, who was with her son Ross, 11, said: “When it comes through your town, you have to be there to cheer them on.”
And cheer them on Yorkshire certainly did.
* Norway’s Lars-Petter Nordhaug won the inaugural Tour de Yorkshire after the Team Sky rider safely negotiated the potentially dangerous third and final stage from Wakefield to Leeds.
Nordhaug had won the first stage into Scarborough on Friday and his experienced Sky team, led by able domestiques Phillip Deignan and Diego Lopez, he was able to protect the blue jersey and becomes its first winner.
BMC Racing’s Ben Hermans won the final stage into Roundhay Park, emerging out of the breakaway to ride alone over the finish line.