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Grand Depart route could include Skipton High Street
11:00am Friday 18th October 2013 in News
Skipton High Street could be revealed next week as part of the route of the largest sporting event in the world.
Organisers of the 2014 Tour de France have already said the Grand Depart will pass through the town – along with several Craven villages – but, on Wednesday, full details of the route will be unveiled to the world’s press in Paris.
And it could mean the High Street being the focus of attention once again – as it was last year when the Olympic Torch Relay came through the town.
With just eight months to go, plans are well under way to cope with the thousands of visitors expected to converge on Craven.
The district council has organised a series of workshops for those wanting to make the most of the event, including the 100-day cultural festival which starts on March 27.
A massive spectator hub will be set up on Skipton High Street – even if it is not included in the route – with a giant screen for people to watch the progress of the cyclists as they make their way through Craven.
Skipton MP Julian Smith said: “I am hopeful that Skipton High Street will be included in the Tour route.
“Our award-winning high street will provide not only a warm welcome for the tour, an iconic image for the TV cameras as the cyclists weave around the Dales but also be a massive boost for shops and businesses.
“This would be the icing on the cake.”
Coun Simon Myers, Craven’s lead member responsible for the Tour planning, said it would mean so much more if the High Street was included in the route.
“It would be brilliant for Skipton. The officers do seem to be vaguely optimistic it will happen.”
The council is working closely with Skipton Town Council to cope with the event – which will take place on Saturday, July 5 and Sunday, July 6.
Dave Parker, the town council’s chief officer, said the council was very excited that the tour was coming through Skipton and was hopeful it would include the High Street.
“Once we know the exact route, we’ll be able to start making specific plans so we can take full advantage of what is another unique opportunity.
“The passing of the Olympic Torch last year brought many thousands to the centre of Skipton and I think we can expect even more for Le Tour.”
And on the Sunday, the race will go from York to Sheffield, taking in Beamsley, Bolton Abbey and Silsden.
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