The Tour de France in Yorkshire

What does it mean for the Tour de France to be starting in Yorkshire?

“Yorkshire isn’t short of beautiful landscapes, stunning vistas and indeed steep climbs.” – Professor David Walker

What does it mean for the Tour de France to be starting in Yorkshire?

These days we have wonderful television coverage of the Tour and as part of this there are now almost obligatory interludes in each stage, during which the focus of the reporting and commentary switches from the state of the race on the ground to the beauty of the landscape and the local tourist attractions.

This is another reason why the Tour is so important in France, as it announces the country as a tourist destination to over 150 million people tuning in to the coverage across around 190 countries.

It’s quite clear that Yorkshire will be looking to do what the towns of France do during the Tour, which is use it as a shop window for the beauties of the region. Of course Yorkshire is not short of beautiful landscapes, stunning vistas and indeed steep climbs – places where the riders will battle it out against the dramatic background of mountains, moorlands, valleys and rivers.

I would expect Yorkshire to derive great benefits from The Tour as it will bring the county to the attention of many people who currently don’t know anything about it. It will undoubtedly put Yorkshire on the map. I know a true Yorkshireman may say that it is already on there – but this will be in a different way and on a truly global scale.

What connects Yorkshire to the Tour de France?

There are a number of good reasons why the Tour should be in Yorkshire. Brian Robinson, the first British rider to win a stage on the Tour de France was born and continues to live here.

Tommy Simpson, one of the other great heroes of British tour cycling, the first to wear the race leader’s Yellow Jersey, trained in Yorkshire for large parts of his career despite being from Nottinghamshire originally. He was the man who sadly died on the Mont Ventoux through heat exhaustion and taking one or two medical preparations he really shouldn’t have.

There are other connections to Yorkshire and to the University of Sheffield. Sir Hans Krebs’ research unearthed the citric acid cycle – a key scientific discovery for understanding endurance sports.

Of course, there is also Professor Steve Peters, a current Sheffield academic, who works closely with the Team Sky cycling team and has helped them scale great heights in the Tour de France in recent years as their team psychiatrist.

For more information on the University of Sheffield’s Department of French, visit our website: http://www.sheffield.ac.uk/french

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