Peloton leaves mark on Hebden Bridge

Tour de France Hebden Bridge.

Tour de France Hebden Bridge.

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A sea of yellow spectators eagerly lined the narrow Hebden Bridge streets for ‘a once in a lifetime’ opportunity to catch a quick glimpse of the world’s best cyclists.

‘Yorkshire, Yorkshire,’ the crowd shouted as the Tour de France cyclists whizzed by, down Keighley Road and onto Burnley Road.

The breakaway riders made their way through first, just after 1.30pm, and were soon followed by the peloton, with the stage one winner Marcel Kittel standing out from the bunch in his yellow jacket.

The streets were lined with thousands of people, some that had been there since the early hours of the morning and others that had travelled far and wide to be a part of Yorkshire history.

Eric and Alison Hurley, of Cardiff, arrived at 7am on the day.

The couple, who are huge Tour de France fans, decided to come to Hebden Bridge especially for the race, after the location was announced.

Mrs Hurley said: “We go on a boat every summer and this year we decided to visit Hebden Bridge because the Tour de France was here.

“We liked watching the race in Hebden Bridge.

“It is great being able to say that we were a part of it.”

Yvone Cawley, who travelled from Derbyshire, said: “There is such a buzz about in Hebden Bridge and it is great to see.

“The opportunity to see the race live, instead of on teleivison, was too good to miss.”

Some spectators went to great efforts to get into the French theme and got dressed up in the Grand Depart jersey colours.

Mandy and Mark Kazmierski sported berets, stripes and moustaches for the occasion.

“We decided to keep with the theme.”

Before the race went through, there was a sense of anticipation and nervousness in the crowd. The publicity caravan started off with police on motorbikes racing through the centre of the streets, slowing down only to high five onlookers.

Haribo, McCains, Fruit Shoot and Yorkshire Tea got the loudest cheers, as they drove by in specially designed cars and vans, throwing out bags of sweets, rubber bracelets, tea bags and herb seeds.

The excitement had started and Hebden Bridge had been waiting for this for at least two years.

Simon Belt got a front row seat on Burnley Road for the race. “It was absolutely brilliant, a once in a lifetime opportunity. I can’t believe Hebden Bridge and Yorkshire is at the centre of the Tour de France.”

The forecasted storm never arrived and, to the spectators’ delight, the weather remained glorious throughout the day.

The excitement continued as the crowds flooded the streets to continue the festivities at the Calder Holmes Park spectator hub.

Over a thousand people made their way to finish off the day watching the rest of stage two on the big screen.

Crowds were heard all the way up Hardcastle Crags when the final five kilometres of the race were shown to the everyone in the field.

The peloton may have passed by in under 60 seconds but it is hoped that the legacy of the Tour de France will continue to live on in Hebden Bridge.