Tour de France Photo Gallery: Yorkshire ready for race’s arrival

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Yorkshire Welcomes Le Tour

Next year, the friendly folks of the United Kingdom’s Yorkshire County will have a Tour (capital ‘T’) to call their own when the three-day Tour of Yorkshire gets underway with its inaugural edition May 1-3. In the meantime, they’ve done an astounding job of preparing for the big tour that belongs to France.

All along the 190.5km stage 1 route from Leeds to Harrogate, yellow, green and polka dots are ubiquitous. Window art, lawn decorations, painted bikes, and even the occasional painted sheep (live ones) dot this hilly landscape, which we got a firsthand taste of earlier this week during a test ride with Trek.

The hallmark of the route is the Yorkshire Dales National Park with its endless series or valleys and accompanying hilltops. Officially the stage is categorized as flat, but that’s in name only. Our test ride included the final two-thirds of the route, and doled out 4,800 feet of tough climbing, much of it during the nasty gut punch of a climb known locally as Buttertubs. It’s 3.8 miles, gains 1,000 feet, and averages 5 percent with several ramps that exceed 20 percent. The Tour roadbook rates it category 3.

Next up is the Cote de Grinton Moor, another cat. 3. It’s only 2 miles long, but averages 7 percent and gains 660 feet. The good news for the race’s non climbers is that there’s 61km from this final summit to the finish in Harrogate. The bad news is that even the run to the line isn’t exactly flat. Here’s a look at some of the sights and scenes from the area as we begin the final countdown to the kickoff of the 2014 Tour de France.

Tour de France Photo Gallery: Yorkshire ready for race’s arrival Gallery
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Yorkshire Welcomes Le Tour

Sheep roam free in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Photo by Geoff Waugh/Trek
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Yorkshire Welcomes Le Tour

Creative shop window displays are everywhere.
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Yorkshire Welcomes Le Tour

Nearly every town along the route has gone all out. Photo by Geoff Waugh/Trek
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Yorkshire Welcomes Le Tour

Yellow painted bikes are seemingly on every street corner.
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Yorkshire Welcomes Le Tour

Even Harrogate's local button store got into the spirit of things.
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Yorkshire Welcomes Le Tour

This is also cheese country. Photo by Geoff Waugh/Trek
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Yorkshire Welcomes Le Tour

Some creative advertising from the local dentist.
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Yorkshire Welcomes Le Tour

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Yorkshire Welcomes Le Tour

Photo by Geoff Waugh/Trek
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Yorkshire Welcomes Le Tour

The reigning champ's book is a hot seller around here.
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Yorkshire Welcomes Le Tour

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Yorkshire Welcomes Le Tour

The big day is drawing close.
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Yorkshire Welcomes Le Tour

The route's roads are extremely narrow in spots. Photo by Geoff Waugh/Trek
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Yorkshire Welcomes Le Tour

Photo by Geoff Waugh/Trek
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Yorkshire Welcomes Le Tour

Tour'centric decorations are everywhere in Harrogate.
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Yorkshire Welcomes Le Tour

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Yorkshire Welcomes Le Tour

Photo by Geoff Waugh/Trek
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Yorkshire Welcomes Le Tour

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Yorkshire Welcomes Le Tour

Photo by Geoff Waugh/Trek
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Yorkshire Welcomes Le Tour

Photo by Geoff Waugh/Trek
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Yorkshire Welcomes Le Tour

Photo by Geoff Waugh/Trek
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Yorkshire Welcomes Le Tour

Photo by Geoff Waugh/Trek
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Yorkshire Welcomes Le Tour

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Yorkshire Welcomes Le Tour

Photo by Geoff Waugh/Trek
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Yorkshire Welcomes Le Tour

The local tourist center in Harrogate.
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Yorkshire Welcomes Le Tour

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Yorkshire Welcomes Le Tour

Photo by Geoff Waugh/Trek
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Yorkshire Welcomes Le Tour

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Yorkshire Welcomes Le Tour

Photo by Geoff Waugh/Trek
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Yorkshire Welcomes Le Tour

It would appear that every big box mountain bike in the county has been painted Tour yellow.
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Yorkshire Welcomes Le Tour

Photo by Geoff Waugh/Trek
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Yorkshire Welcomes Le Tour

Photo by Geoff Waugh/Trek
About the author: Jason Sumner

An avid cyclist, Jason Sumner has been writing about two-wheeled pursuits of all kinds since 1999. He’s covered the Tour de France, the Olympic Games, and dozens of other international cycling events. He also likes to throw himself into the fray, penning first-person accounts of cycling adventures in British Columbia, Belgium, Brazil, Costa Rica, France, and Peru among many others. Sumner, who joined the RoadBikeReview.com / Mtbr.com staff in January, 2013, has also done extensive gear testing and edited a book on cycling tips. When not writing or riding, the native Coloradoan can be found enjoying the great outdoors with his wife Lisa.


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