‘Grand Depart will have huge impact on Craven’

Craven Herald: Graham Jagger, left, and Mark Sandamas, right, from Pennine Events Graham Jagger, left, and Mark Sandamas, right, from Pennine Events

Craven will not know what has hit it when the Tour De France’s Grand Depart comes to the area next year.

That is the view of Cononley man Graham Jagger – and he should know.

He works for Pennine Events and, along with managing director Mark Sandamas, of Barnoldswick, helped to organise the Tour de France when it passed through Kent in July 2007 – the last time the race came to Britain.

The company was brought in to devise and implement the crowd management and was subsequently awarded a commendation by the Metropolitan Police.

“Part of the reason the race is coming back to Britain is the success of 2007. Two million people watched the event live and there were no incidents,” said 62-year-old Mr Jagger, who is hoping the company might be invited to help with 2014 event.

“I think it is fantastic that the Tour De France is coming to Yorkshire, but I think people will be surprised at how big an event it is and the impact it is going to have.

“It will cut off and isolate communities along the route for a full day. That is why the organisation is so important. People live in these villages and there is a big PR exercise to go through to make them understand how this will impact on their lives.

“There might be people who have carers who need to get through, there are dairy farmers who need to milk, there could be an emergency. Getting down to the nitty gritty is a complex and involved affair. There are lots and lots of things that need to be put into place.”

Mr Jagger, who has cycled in various places throughout the world, added: “As a company, we would like to be asked to help with the Tour as we have the background and expertise from last time and we know these roads like the back of our hands.”

Based in Bamber Bridge, the company manages events such as the annual Pendle Cycle Festival, Pedal for Scotland and last year organised the Ride with Brad, with Tour de France winner and Olympic gold medallist Bradley Wiggins.

l The Grand Depart will take place on July 5 and 6, 2014, and the first leg will take cyclists from Leeds to Harrogate, through Draughton, Skipton, Rylstone, Threshfield, Kilnsey, Kettlewell and Buckden. The route for day two, from York to Sheffield, goes via Bolton Abbey, Addingham and Silsden.

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