The head of the team overseeing the planning and delivery of this year’s Tour de France Grand Départ says “We’re counting down to something special” as the final readiness report was released today.
Sir Rodney Walker, Chair of TdFHUB2014 Ltd, made the comment as the government-created company overseeing preparations for the race released its third and final report outlining the work done to prepare for the world’s largest annual sporting event which takes place next month.
The report gives an overview on the final planning carried out with local authorities and partners across all key operational areas of the race, which will cover more than 300 miles of closed roads and attract an expected roadside audience in the millions - making it one of the biggest free sports events ever held in Britain.
Chair of TdFHUB2014 Ltd Sir Rodney Walker said: “I am delighted to be able to say all of the plans are now in place and being refined and tested to deliver something special - an event which will be enjoyed by millions of people at the roadside and will showcase the very best of the UK to a massive global audience.
“An immense amount of work has been carried out to prepare for these historic three days, and we are confident that work will result in a fantastic occasion not to be forgotten.”
UK Sport Chair Rod Carr said: “I welcome this final readiness report from TdFHUB2014 Ltd, the not-for-profit company established by UK Sport, and feel it is a testimony to the outstanding expertise, hard work and dedication of all those involved, which will once again demonstrate the UK’s ability to deliver world-class sporting events, delivering economic benefit and genuine moments of inspiration for the whole nation to enjoy.
“We are very proud that the Tour de France Grand Départ forms part of UK Sport’s Gold Event Series allowing so many people to witness at first hand their sporting heroes competing on home soil."
The Grand Départ begins in Leeds on Saturday 5 July with the first of two stages in Yorkshire before moving south for stage three from Cambridge to London on Monday 7 July.
The final readiness report follows a first in December and a second in March, and can be seen along with other supporting information released by TdFHUB2014 Ltd on the UK Sport website.
Among the aspects covered in the report are the links with local authorities, Tour organisers ASO, Welcome to Yorkshire, event partners including Transport for London which is overseeing stage three from the M25 into London plus a range of other providers who are helping to bring together all the elements needed to stage the race effectively.
The report reveals the scale of the logistical challenge of planning the event, with more than 100 kilometres of barriers and fencing secured, 30,000 traffic cones, 5,000 road signs, 2,500 event management radios, more than 2,000 temporary toilets and over 70 kilometres of event bunting.
Working with almost 20 local authorities, Traffic Regulation Orders have been co-ordinated and are being put in place along the length of the route along with detailed traffic and crowd management plans including working with the police and emergency services to ensure ‘blue light’ services can be maintained.
Work has been carried out with health and care providers as well as utility bodies to ensure the best possible continuity of services across the race weekend.
In order to help residents, businesses and spectators prepare to either make the most of the event or minimise the interruption to their normal routine it causes, local authorities and partners have carried out significant public engagement to raise awareness as much as possible of the timings and impact of the race.
Transport authorities and providers have also been part of the planning process, either putting on additional services or special timetables to cater for the Tour.
All of the key transport and travel information and advice can now be seen at the interactive map of the routes on the Le Tour Yorkshire website, while the details for the finale of stage three can be seen on the TfL website.
Surveys carried out around the Grand Départ have helped inform planning as well as offering an indication of the level of anticipation for the Tour, which is expected to generate more than £100million for the UK economy.
Of those surveyed in an around the route, 94 per cent of people in Yorkshire and Humber were aware the race was coming, while 60 per cent said any disruption would be worth it to host such a prestigious event.
The level of enthusiasm for the event can also be seen by approximately 10,000 people volunteering to be official Tour Makers in a programme supported by official partner Asda, while communities and cycling clubs along the route took part in the traditional Fête du Tour at the end of May – the first time Britain has ever been involved in the pre-Tour celebration.
In terms of where spectators intend to watch from, the survey results showed starts and finishes will be popular, as will the 24 official Grand Départ Spectator Hubs and Fan Parks. These will be family-focused areas of varying sizes along the route featuring big screens, activities and facilities for crowds of up to 20,000 people.
One of the key priorities for organisers has been to make the race accessible for all wherever possible, with dedicated viewing areas for those with disabilities at all of the spectator hubs.
Other areas of the route expected to busy are the leading climbs on stages one and two such as Buttertubs Pass, Holme Moss and Cragg Vale. Such are the numbers expected to head to Holme Moss in particular, TdFHUB2014 Ltd has decided to release additional resources from the £2million government funding contingency to help with crowd management in that section of the route.
The contingency has also be used to enhance radio provision along the route as well as the command and control elements, with an element of the contingency being left unallocated to be used in the days before, during and after the race if required.
Aside from the economic benefit from hosting the race, the Grand Départ is expected to provide a strong legacy in terms of longer-term tourism and business benefits, as well as social and health benefits from a boost in cycling participation in the UK.
Minister for Sport and Tourism Helen Grant MP said: “Preparations to stage the start of the biggest cycle race in the world are in the home straight and I am pleased that everything is on track. The Grand Départ will be an unforgettable experience for millions, showcasing the best of Yorkshire, Cambridge, Essex and London.
“Not only will it help boost the economy, local tourism and businesses where the race passes through it will also leave a real legacy for the sport of cycling, inspiring more people to get involved. It has been a big team effort to get to this point and I know that everyone remains completely focused on putting on a fantastic event in three weeks’ time.”
Sir Rodney Walker added: “From the very start of this process the focus for the whole team was to make this the best start to the Tour de France ever seen.
“I am confident what you will see will be just that, and I would like to thank the organisers ASO plus all of the partners and supporters involved for their incredible hard work in bringing everything together and making this happen. This will be a world-class event for everyone to enjoy and we are counting down the days to July the fifth.”
The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: “As people start gathering en masse to line the Tour de France route from Cambridge, through to Essex and into London there is bound to be a return of that 2012 Olympic magic in the air. We’ve been working hard alongside Transport for London to make sure the capital is primed and ready for the return of the largest annual sporting event in the world.
“An extensive programme of public engagement and communication is well underway to help businesses and Londoners to plan ahead. Now the countdown is on for the arrival of Le Tour and the battle for the yellow jersey.”
For all the latest news and information on the 2014 Tour de France Grand Départ, visit Le Tour Yorkshire website.