Doncaster welcomes the Tour
One word to sum up two exhilarating days of Tour de Yorkshire action in Doncaster, not to mention the spirit and passion of the communities that came together to give it the warmest of local welcomes!
2018 saw Doncaster host the first stage of the men’s race and the ASDA women’s Tour de Yorkshire on 3rd May. The second stage of the races passed through the borough the following day.
The Tour de Yorkshire had visited Doncaster before back in April 2016 and it was a massive success with over 50,000 event-goers across the borough turning out to catch the crème de la crème of the cycling world in action.
So to be chosen as an event host for a second year was brilliant news, to be allocated two days of one of the biggest and most prestigious cycling races in the world was a major coup for the borough.
Doncaster’s communities were invited to get ready for the big event and showcase their creative skills again by coming up with eye-catching land art or organising community parties.
And as in 2016, there would be another thrilling racing climax at Bennetthorpe near the town centre so plans quickly got underway for the return of the hugely popular Fan Zone event close to the finish line featuring lots of family entertainment and food and drink.
As May approached, the distinctive Tour de Yorkshire yellow and blues began appearing at locations along the route – there was the bunting, the bikes and a buzz that something very special was about to happen.
Doncaster was ready.
A week before the Tour de Yorkshire arrived, the iconic nine metre high Yorkshire Gateway sculpture was installed at the Great Yorkshire Way to commemorate the imminent completion of the airport link road. The sculpture provided a striking backdrop as the world’s elite cyclists powered along the new one mile stretch of road.
Throughout their route, Doncaster showed its immense spirit, character and talent for hosting an event of this stature and residents pulled out all the stops to celebrate the event in style.
The riders received an amazing welcome greeted by the loud cheers from a huge turn-out of people of all ages who had lined the streets to experience the breath-taking spectacle of world class cycling and the electric atmosphere. There was giddy excitement from local school children who came up with cracking artwork and some of the biggest cheers – and even pets were suitably TDY attired.
Local people excelled themselves again with their creativity – floral bike displays, bikes in trees, bikes on buildings, fish on bikes, beautifully knitted bunting and even a bike made out of a radiator! Several organised their own events with a lively line-up of entertainment and activities – by all working together, they showed what a brilliant place Doncaster is.
From the villages to the town centre, the party was in full swing. The Fan Zone in the town centre was a hive of activity featuring Yorkshire’s largest cycle café, a variety of food and drink and entertainment including musicians, living statues, an escapologist, stilt walking and hula hooping cyclists, fairground rides and interactive displays including cycle powered machines. There was also opportunity for budding young cycling champs to take part in their own races.
The incredible race action, the crowds, the carnival atmosphere. The Tour de Yorkshire has certainly left its legacy on the town.
Following its massive success, cycling has continued to grow in popularity across the borough with more and more people joining local clubs, and all generations being inspired to embrace the enjoyment of cycling.