Cathedrals and churches in the diocese are putting out the bunting and welcome mats for this year’s Tour de Yorkshire which for two days, Saturday April 29 and Sunday 30 April, will criss-cross the diocese, passing by many parish churches enroute.
Two giant yellow jerseys and plenty of yellow and blue bunting now decorate the tower and precinct of Bradford Cathedral where Day Three (Sunday 30 April) begins. Cathedral bell ringers will ring the riders out on race day, and the Cathedral is inviting visitors to come and enjoy the grounds, the only green space in the city centre.
The Dean of Bradford, the Very Revd Jerry Lepine said “Bradford can sometimes be a bit shy about itself but the Tour gives the city a fabulous opportunity to celebrate all that is good about this place. People will be surprised at the welcome and wonderful buildings, and vibrancy they will find and the Cathedral, on the hill looking over the city, will be playing its full part in what will be a memorable occasion for the city.”
At Ripon Cathedral, in Day Two, April 29th , a pop up cafe will run from 12 noon until 3.30pm between the Women's race and Tour de Yorkshire race with free guided tours.
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Last year, 2016, around 2 million people came out to watch the race, which was televised – this year even more spectators are expected as the Tour returns to some of the favourite stretches of the 2014 Tour de France. Click on the maps below for a more detailed interactive map of each route.
On Saturday 29 April (Day Two of the Men’s race) there are two exciting races through Ripon Episcopal Area. The same route will be used for both the Women’s Tour De Yorkshire race in the morning, and the men’s second day of racing, in the afternoon. Cyclists in the two races will depart from Tadcaster, quickly racing through Wetherby and on through the villages of Kirk Deighton, North Deighton, Little Ribston and Goldsborough into Knaresborough. It’s then out to Ripley before heading up the Nidd Valley through Summerbridge to Pateley Bridge.
The cyclists will continue to climb to Ramsgill and Lofthouse before rising up over the moors to drop down into Masham. Turning south again they follow a familiar route from the 2014 Tour de France to Ripon, but then turn off the main road down the B roads around Fountains Abbey before going on to Bishop Thornton and Shaw Mills, towards the hamlet of Clint and on to Birstwith, back along the River Nidd to Hampsthwaite. Then it’s up onto the A59 towards Harrogate, turning right to follow exactly the same sprint finish that put paid to Mark Cavendish’s hopes in 2014 when he crashed out outside Betty’s Tea Rooms.
(Click on maps for link to interative Le Tour maps)
On Sunday 30 April, Day Three, the final day of the Men’s competition, reaches a climax with a start in the centre of Bradford. The route takes in three Episcopal Areas (Bradford, Ripon and Huddersfield
Setting off northwards, the Tour cycles through Shipley and then out over the hills towards Menston, Burley in Wharfedale and Ilkley before continuing on along a familiar 2014 route through Addingham and on towards Bolton Abbey, Burnsell and almost to Grassington before looping south through Linton towards Rylstone and Skipton, famous in 2014 for the giant yellow jersey on the church tower of Holy Trinity Church. Then its south to Keighley and the famous Haworth cobbled climb, through Oxenhope and over the moors to Queensbury and some hair-raising descending into Halifax. From there the route passes churches in Brighouse, Cleckheaton and Birstall then making a sharp turn south-westwards to Liversedge, Almondbury, Farnley Tyas, Honley, and Holmfirth before the Sheffield finish.
Church buildings have featured strongly in TV coverage of the race, their soaring towers presenting dramatic points of orientation for the riders and for the film crews as the race evolves. This year there is an opportunity for churches near the starts and finishes of each stage, and for churches sited in dominant locations, to offer to host Yorkshire flags on their towers or perhaps to innovate with local decorations as Skipton did in 2014.
For more on the Tour de Yorkshire and the route check www.letour.yorkshire.com – Race route; maps; timings and advice.