The superstars of the Tour de France will ride through Leeds city centre next week as they make their way to the official Opening Ceremony Team Presentation.
As part of the build-up to the Grand Départ of this year’s race, all 198 competing riders will take part in a public parade riding from the University of Leeds to Leeds Arena on the evening of Thursday July 3.
Starting just after 6pm, the 22 teams will ride along a route from the university into the city centre taking in Millennium Square as they make their way to the Leeds Arena for the spectacular Opening Ceremony and Team Presentation of this year’s Tour.
The parade will give cycling fans and the public the chance to see all of the riders in action two days before the race begins for real on The Headrow in Leeds on the morning of Saturday July 5.
The parade will be led by a group of cyclists from local Leeds clubs and community groups who will be first on to the route which begins at the top of Calverley Street. The route heads down alongside Leeds General Infirmary before the riders turn left sweeping across Millennium Square in front of the Civic Hall. Turning left again the route then heads up Upper Cookridge Street before crossing Clay Pit Lane and turning right onto Merrion Way before a final left turn takes them into the Leeds arena.
The Tour riders will then follow, riding in their teams at regular intervals. Aside from the riders, the parade will also feature team support cars and some of the Welcome to Yorkshire Grand Départ vehicles which will be part of the Tour’s famous publicity caravan offering a further taster of what is to come on the Saturday.
Organised by Leeds City Council and Tour organisers Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), the parade is free for the public to attend and it is hoped spectators will flock to Millennium Square and Cookridge Street in particular.
The short journey will take the Tour stars to the council-owned Leeds Arena where they will be officially introduced to the audience at the Opening Ceremony and Team Presentation.
The show organised by Welcome to Yorkshire will be a first of its kind for the Tour, with the presentation of the teams alongside live entertainment by Embrace, Alistair Griffin and Kimberley Walsh performing the official anthem of Yorkshire’s Grand Départ ‘The Road’ plus Hope & Social and Opera North. For information and ticket details for the event, go to www.letouryorkshire.com/openingceremony
In order to stage the riders’ parade, a number of road closures and parking restrictions will be in place in Leeds on Thursday. These can be seen below and also at leeds.gov.uk/granddepartleeds.
Roads will begin to be closed from 4pm. The final closure at the junction of Woodhouse Lane and Clay Pit Lane will be in place at 5pm. Roads will remain closed until after the parade has finished with all roads expected to reopen by 10pm.
These closures are expected to have a significant impact on commuter traffic, especially for the evening rush hour. Buses will be diverted around the main closures on Woodhouse Lane, and where possible those in the city centre are advised and requested to remain and enjoy the event.
Leader of Leeds City Council Councillor Keith Wakefield said: “We are hugely excited to be staging this fantastic riders’ parade before the race begins, it will be amazing to see and I would like to thank the ASO and all the teams and riders for agreeing to take part.
“Seeing the riders parading through Leeds city centre will be wonderful and it would be brilliant to see a big crowd cheering them on and giving them a special welcome to Leeds to show how proud we are to be the host city for this year’s Tour de France.
“We recognise this is a working day and given the time of the event it will cause disruption to people’s journeys home from work. I would ask please for people to be patient and understand this is very much a special one-off, and if possible I would advise staying in the city centre and joining in the fun as it really will be something to see and be part of.”
Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire Gary Verity said: “This is a great chance for people who can’t make it to the Opening Ceremony Team Presentation to catch a glimpse of the riders as they make their way to the arena. When the teams enter the arena, we’re confident they will be blown away – as will the thousands gathered inside as we put on a spectacular show that both spectators and riders will never forget.”
For all the latest Tour de France information for Leeds visit www.leeds.gov.uk/granddepartleeds
For the latest news on Yorkshire’s Grand Départ, including travel and transport planning and guidance, visit letouryorkshire.com.