The 2015 Tour de France
and Grand Départ 2014

Another British win and memories of two days in Yorkshire

Tour de France 2015 and the Grand Départ 2014

As Chris Froome secures his second victory in the Tour de France, I wanted to reflect on his win and the tour's 2014 visit to Yorkshire.

Today Chris Froome had the chance to spend his day not on a bike travelling around France. Yesterday he passed the finish line as winner of the 2015 Tour de France on what was a very dull and rainy summer's day in Paris. Thankfully the weather did brighten up significantly by the time he got to mount the podium twice, once as king of the mountains and again as overall winner.

With allegations of doping flying around in the French media and bodily fluids flying from spectators towards 30 year old Chris Froome in the final days of the tour, this year had some drama.

Thankfully the drama was not of the injury kind that killed off the chances of British success last year. To have Britain's finest sprint finisher Mark Cavendish fall and dislocate his shoulder moments before the finish line in his mother's hometown on Day 1 (and just moments after he passed me) was too much for us Harrogate supporters to bear. Following that to have the then Tour de France winner and fellow Brit have to quit days later was a double blow.

Back to more positive times, specifically yesterday, the TV news broadcasters took to the airwaves announcing Chris as the first British winner to win twice, which given that the line of British tour winners only consists of Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome, the impact of this message is lessened somewhat. Three winners in four years is though not to be sniffed at, it is a truly great success for Team Sky under Team Principal Sir Dave Brailsford.

With characteristic humility, Chris thanked his team in his winning speech (always a good way to ensure greater team harmony and boost your chances as a unit of further successes), "I want to thank my team-mates, without you I would not be standing here ... I give you my utmost respect and gratitude. This is your yellow jersey as much as it is mine." And to those who doubt his honour with regard to doping he stated, "The yellow jersey is very special. I will always respect it and never dishonour it."

The Grand Départ 2014

As the Tour de France 2015 comes to an end in Paris with another British win it does bring memories of how the Grand Départ started last year in Yorkshire, entering Harrogate twice, and passing company headquarters.

It was such an enjoyable experience: the atmosphere of having the tour pass through your region; to witness to elite athletes passing at high speed (all within touching distance); and to see how it brightened up both the spirits of the Yorkshire people and temporarily the Yorkshire weather.

As can been seen by the images taken on days one and two, the weather last year (at least for those two days) held out. It wasn't until the southern section of the route heading into London that the rains came.

The legacy of last year's tour has been the wonderful new Tour de Yorkshire, and whilst it did not pass through Harrogate in 2015, we live in hope that it will do so soon, perhaps 2016 (see the tour's News page for more up-to-date information).

Gary Verity Chief Executive from Welcome to Yorkshire, who brought the tour to our region, became Sir Gary Verity from Welcome to Yorkshire, in the Queen's Birthday Honours list (as written about on 12th June 2015 in the Yorkshire Evening Post).

And the number of cyclists whizzing past our premises has noticeably increased, from the odd individual a few years ago to steady groups riding by on a regular basis.

Images of the Grand Départ 2014 Days 1 & 2

Richard Fortune
Written By

Richard Fortune

A seasoned Lead Architect delivering complex distributed cloud solutions with four decades coding experience.