Now in it’s third year, the Tour de Yorkshire returned to God’s Own County, seeing Harrogate being made a finishing town once again for Stage 2 of the 2017 race.
After witnessing the spectacle of the race from previous years, we couldn’t be more excited to see it finish in Harrogate again!
This time we hoped for a fairytale finish, without the repeat performance of the heartbreak of Mark Cavendish’s fall from the Tour de France in 2014.
The whole county has gotten behind TDY again this year and the buzz in the air has been plain to see and feel in the run up to the race, with villages and towns adorned in blue and yellow bunting, flags and painted bicycles in honour of the race!
We truly are blessed in Yorkshire with some fabulous countryside and stunning scenery, providing a picture perfect backdrop for this huge sporting event.
As lucky as we feel to host such a wonderful event, we think the riders must feel equally blessed to be riding through such glorious landscapes too!
As Saturday arrived, it brought with it, dry mild weather, not too cold, not too hot, perfect cycling weather!
There was all sorts happening throughout the day in Harrogate, including a party on The Stray with big screens, live music, food and drink, craft stalls and cycling activities a plenty!
On Crescent Gardens, just outside the Valley Gardens, was a Street Food Festival, with global cuisine from quirky food vendors, a Prosecco van and glitter facepainting, inclusive with a DJ spinning some funky house to get everyone in the party spirit!
The whole family had come out for the occasion and it was lovely to see everyone coming together as a community, having a giggle and joining in the fun.
The first race of the day was the ladies race, with an amazing sprint and finish from Yorkshire born winner Lizzie Deignan.
The Peloton, or in fact any of the other riders were nowhere in sight, as Lizzie came powering up Montpellier Hill towards the finish line.
She had a stong outright lead, checking back over her shoulder for oncoming competitors as she approached the finish line and seeing nobody there, ploughed on, pushing herself and what must have been by now, very tired legs!
With a cheeky smile on her face as she crossed the finish line, the Harrogate crowd went wild, celebrating Lizzie’s win with her and we felt so proud that the first winner of the day was British and not only that, but a Yorkshire-woman herself!
We loudly cheered and clapped her win as she took to the winner’s podium to receive her trophys, jerseys and flowers.
We have no doubt her favourite was the petrified glued-together Yorkshire Pudding trophy – Epic!
Next up was the men’s race a few hours later, giving local residents, visitors and tourists a chance to soak up the Tour de Yorkshire atmosphere and enjoy the day’s entertainment around the town.
As the men’s race drew closer, the crowds grew thicker, each one trying to gain the best viewing spot on the roadside as they awaited the culmination of Stage 2 on the finish line on Parliament Street.
It was around 5pm when the riders arrived in Harrogate and with only 1KM to go, the crowd were up for it and the noise was electric.
The final climb was heavy, with many cyclists fighting for their place in the race.
As the Peloton reached iconic Betty’s Tea Rooms, Men’s Stage 2 Winner, Nacer Bouhanni made his winning break and sprinted his way to the finish line. As the crowd cheered him on, banging their hands on the barriers lining the race track, Nacer crossed the line with his arms in the air, elated with his victory!
Swiftly after crossing the line, Bouhanni dismounted his bike and dropped to the floor, overwhelmed, taking in his win, whilst catching his breath back after a sensational, exhilerating and exciting Stage 2 race!
Sadly there were no Brits in the top 3 of the Men’s race, but that didn’t matter as we cheered on the winners all the same, with their thoroughly deserved collective successes of the day.
It had been another historic day of cycle racing and it wasn’t over yet as the Street Food Festival and Stray party were set to continue late into Saturday night!
We headed back to The Stray for a “boogie ‘n’ a bevvie” and a general wander.
On the way, I thought it was my lucky day as one of the race officials came walking towards us with a bunch of flowers, but the flowers passed straight in front of us and were handed to a lady walking nearby. She was a bit chuffed to say the least and although quietly disappointed they weren’t for me (who am I kidding, not even the OH buys me flowers), it was lovely to witness this kind gesture.
We enjoyed viewing beautiful Art on The Stray by Lucy Pittaway, one of which epitomised the stunning scenery with the cyclists riding through the brilliantly bright yellow fields along the Tour de Yorkshire route!
We had a good wander around the other stalls too and stopped to take in the awesome Yorkshire Water advert on the big screen. If you’ve not yet seen it, you simply must check it out, we love it, but then we are slightly biased!
There was some lovely live music and lots of fab things happening, with even more street food vendors and a bar here too, with live music happening late into the night, including a Robbie Williams tribute act!
They had ‘Specialized’ bikes to try out, with people whizzing up and down on them having a whole heap of fun. They looked beasty with fat wheels! I hear they’re the best in the biking world. I also hear you can buy a car for the price they are too, eek! I wonder if they do ones with baskets on for little old ladies in the making like myself!
We even got our pic taken in the official Tour de Yorkshire frame when we spent time chatting to some fab folk on one of the stalls!
On a serious note though, the Tour de Yorkshire has brought health, wealth, tourism and an injection of life into Harrogate and the positive impact it has had on the community is simply astounding.
More people than ever are now getting on their bikes and are inspired thanks to this race alone.
We’d also like to finish by giving a special mention to the official Tour de Yorkshire TV advert for creating such an inspiring film, proving you’re never too old to “Get on yer bike!”
If you’ve not yet seen it, check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qLHBYa5bntQ
For the full classifications, further results and TDY info, click here: http://letour.yorkshire.com/
We’re already looking forward to Tour de Yorkshire 2018 and hope you all are too!