Tour de Yorkshire comes to my backgate…………………

"Grey skies" over Scapegoat Hill

“Grey skies” over Scapegoat Hill

After the success last year of bringing the Tour de France to Yorkshire the organisers decided to launch their own tour of the county in 2015, capitalising on the massive enthusiasm (and crowds) from last year.

People begin to line the route

People begin to line the route

So I was extremely pleased when they announced that an inaugural Tour de Yorkshire would take place in May 2015 and what was even better, the last leg of the tour would pass the outskirts of the village in which I live. This would involve the riders climbing the very steep hill from Slaithwaite to the top of Scapegoat Hill, or as we cycling aficionados call it, Cote de Scapegoat Hill.

More people and skies brighten

More people and skies brighten

When I awoke this morning at 6.30am I lay in bed and could hear the rain pounding on one of the windows and my heart sank. What a disappointment it would be for both riders and supporters if the weather was awful, particularly as the weather had been glorious last year for the Tour de France.

members of Saddleworth Clarion Cycling Club and the Basque flag

members of Saddleworth Clarion Cycling Club and the Basque flag

The weather forecast was for the rain to pass and by around 1.00pm there should be blue skies but with the possibility of the odd shower, so all was not lost. I sat at home willing the weather to change and by 11.00am it had stopped raining but still with heavy grey skies.

"Cool" kids...........

“Cool” kids………..

By 12.30 the sky was clearing, we had no more rain and the temperature was quite warm. So I made my way up to Scapegoat Hill, about 250 yards from the summit I found an excellent vantage point to take photographs. The view across the valley was spectacular and I had a good vantage point to see the riders in the distance.

The breakaway group of riders

The breakaway group of riders

If I am honest I did not expect many people to be out watching the race (given that Scapegoat Hill is not the most accessible of places) but by 1.30 there were several thousand people lining the route to the top of the hill. Whole families had turned out, members of the cycling fraternity and others who had just come to see the spectacle of the race (and possibly a chance to see Sir Bradley Wiggins). Children were dressed in cool cycling t-shirts and flat caps, which was very sartorial.

The peloton in hot pursuit

The peloton in hot pursuit

I was particularly impressed with two gentlemen I came across from Saddleworth Clarion Cycling Club who were holding a Basque flag with the name of the team they were supporting on it and in particular the rider names Sanchez. How the hell these two had got across the border from Lancashire into Yorkshire is beyond me!

Approaching the summit of  Cote de Scapegoat Hill

Approaching the summit of Cote de Scapegoat Hill

At approximately 1.50 the first group of riders appeared and received rapturous applause from the crowds, they had broken away from the peloton and were four minutes ahead of it. Eventually the main peloton appeared, well over a hundred riders slogging their way up the very steep hill (managed to spot Sir Bradley Wiggins safely tucked in to the side of the peloton) and encouraged by the noise of the crowd, it was a compelling sight seeing these riders endure a demanding climb.

The view for the spectators walking home

The view for the spectators walking home

In a matter of a couple of minutes it was all over, the peloton had gone and people began to make their way down the hill and on their way home. This final leg had been a massive success in my part of Yorkshire; let us hope there are many more Tour de Yorkshire to come.

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2 Responses to Tour de Yorkshire comes to my backgate…………………

  1. Tim says:

    Saddleworth is in Yorkshire. The border is at County End, Lees. We were moved into Gtr Manchester but we never left Yorkshire!

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  2. kindadukish says:

    Spoken like a true Yorkshireman. I am a Lancastrian who has been exiled in Yorkshire since 1978 and who is still having language lessons as well as awaiting the arrival of my passport. I regularly have to smuggle Lancashire Cheese and Bury Black Pudding past the border guards at Rishworh

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