City named as official Le Tour hub

Mark Cavendish winning Stage 5 of last year's tour.
Mark Cavendish winning Stage 5 of last year's tour.

Ripon’s Market Place and racecourse have been officially designated as a Spectator Hub for the Tour de France Grand Départ, it has been revealed.

The announcement by TdFHUB2014 Ltd unveiling the final three hubs for Yorkshire – the other two being at Hebden Bridge in Calderdale and Monk Stray in York – takes the number of official Spectator Hubs in the county to 20.

The Mayor of Ripon, Coun Mick Stanley, has described the official designation as “wonderful”.

“We always thought we were a hub in the sense of all the preparations we have made for the Tour and the 100 days festival leading up to July 5,” he said.

“The event is unprecedented – the Olympic Torch procession was quite busy but this is going to be bigger by at least a factor of 10, I would have thought.

“I hope the retailers are ready to take the opportunity to sell more to more people throughout the city as that’s what it’s all about.”

The city’s hub, set across the two locations of Ripon Racecourse and Market Place, will include big screens, catering, and children’s activities on offer at each location on Saturday, July 5, when the world’s biggest cycle race passes through the city from Leeds on the way to the stage finish in Harrogate.

The big screens will allow people to watch every second of the race before and after it reaches Ripon.

Market Place will be closed to traffic during the day with market stalls, family films and live entertainment also taking place.

The following day, Sunday, July 6, celebrations will continue on Market Place with a smaller community event including a children’s fun tent and big screen.

Helen Suckling, a visitor services manager from Harrogate Borough Council who has been working closely with the Ripon community on its Tour preparations, has also welcomed the announcement by TdFHUB2014 Ltd.

“We are absolutely delighted to learn that Ripon will have official hub status and joins Harrogate and Knaresborough to have this honour,” she said.

“We will be grateful for the extra support this will bring and will make sure Ripon residents and visitors will have an unforgettable weekend.”