Piece Hall chief looks forward to a history-making weekend
This weekend's Tour de Yorkshire send-off will provide exactly the sort of spectacle the Piece Hall was meant for, according to the venue's chief executive.
Nicky Chance-Thompson, who has already presided over a royal visit to the Halifax landmark earlier this year, is looking forward to the weekend, which she says will be “history in the making” for Calderdale.
The final stage of this year’s race will leave Halifax via the Piece Hall just after midday on Sunday May 6, with tens of thousands expected to line the streets as the riders make their way to the finishing line in Leeds.
Many of the race’s elite riders, including Mark Cavendish, will ‘sign-in’ at The Piece Hall from 9am, before rolling down to join the other riders for the start of the race proper.
“The feeling around here is fantastic and really positive,” Nicky said. “The profile is great for Yorkshire full stop and the fact we’re having it in Halifax and throughout the Calder Valley is brilliant.
“The fact that we get to host the first part of the stage here is the exact sort of thing the building was designed for.”
The annual race is in its fourth year and was dreamt up as part of the legacy of the Tour de France Grand Depart in 2014, which Nicky remembers as a truly incredible event from her view point on a Calderdale roadside.
“It was unlike anything else I’ve seen before or since,” she said. “There’s a real love of cycling in this part of the world which has come from that moment.
“The feeling is that something very special is happening in Yorkshire and it’s an honour to be entrusted to carry that momentum on.”
Once the stage is underway, an all-day party will take place at the Piece Hall, with music, kids’ activities and a big screen keeping visitors up to date with the race’s latest goings on.
Nicky said: “There’s a lot of excitement, not only because of the visibility it gives Yorkshire, but there is a feeling that this is a weekend everyone can get involved in, it’s one for the whole family.
“This is a truly historic moment because we really don’t know whether Halifax will be chosen to be a host town again.
“I’d encourage people to come down and be a part of history, because you could miss out!”