After a long day over in Skipton for Stage 1 of the tour I was able to take a more leisurely approach to Stage 2 from York to Sheffield as the route was coming through my home town of Huddersfield before heading off to attack the Cote de Holme Moss.
The weather forecast had been for thundery showers but the BBC weather forecast got it wrong and the sun shone over Gods own county.
I wandered down to Ainly Top thinking that this venue was way out of the town and it would be easy to get a good viewing point. Well, I was in for a shock as the roadside was packed with people three a breast, tents pitched, people consuming wine and beer as they waited patiently for the arrival of the peloton.
After sitting in the middle of a field for a while because of the view it afforded of the surrounding countryside I decided to try to get a space at the roadside where I could take close up photos.
I managed to find a little gap and positioned myself with my camera and just stood around soaking up the atmosphere. It seemed that half the population had turned out to see the tour from very young children to people of “more mature” years (i.e. me).
It has to be said that time passed very quickly as the wit and repartee of the spectators was what you would expect when you put a group of “Yorkshire folk” together.
Suddenly a roar went up from lower down the road to indicate that the riders were in view. The noise from the spectators was unbelievably loud as they shouted encouragement and cheered on the riders. The main peloton had climbed the big hill we were on and still went past at considerable speed.
There were then some gaps before small groups of riders appeared who had struggled with the climb and finally the last man appeared struggling to get up the hill. The crowd on seeing the pain on his face shouted and cheered, and the noise was deafening……….on hearing this he got out of the saddle and pumped away on the pedals and the effort took him to the brow of the hill, I am sure the crescendo of noise had “lifted” him.
So in a matter of a few minutes it was all over, families made their way back to their cars, young children still excited at what they had just seen, many of them wearing yellow tour T-shirts and caps and when they grow up they will be able to utter the immortal words of “I was there in 2014 when the Tour de France came to Yorkshire.”