Bradley Wiggins out of Tour de France

Reigning Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins
Reigning Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins

Defending champion and Olympic Gold medallist Bradley Wiggins has pulled out of this year’s Tour de France.

Team Sky announced that injury and illness have forced the reigning Sports Personality of the Year out of this year’s event.

His Tour de France comeback will, therefore, take place in North Yorkshire when Le Tour hits the district in July 2014.

CycleHarrogate writer Dave Prince said: “Hopefully Bradley Wiggins will be involved in Le Tour 2014.
“He will not become a bad cyclist overnight, and it is a while away still.

“He hasn’t had the best year. Mark Cavendish has been doing well, so it would be interesting to see them both in 2014.”

Excitement for the Tour de France is already building. Each month we will be following the progress of Le Tour build-up. This month, we catch up with a Tour-inspired garden design at the Chelsea Flower Show, learn more about what to expect when the riders head through the district, and hear about how a Harrogate school is getting into the spirit of Le Tour with a cyclo-sportif event in France.

Welcome to Yorkshire’s Le Jardin de Yorkshire won two awards at the Chelsea Flower Show.

The entry was inspired by the Grand Départ of the Tour de France.

The garden won a silver-gilt at the show, and took the People’s Choice award. It is the fourth time in a row Welcome to Yorkshire has won the People’s Choice.

Alistair Baldwin, the garden’s designer, said: “It was our intention to capture what the world will see when the Grand Départ comes to the county, and it’s great that the public has responded so positively to what we have done.

“Hopefully, it will inspire more people to come and experience Yorkshire’s stunning landscapes firsthand and to line the route of the Tour in 2014.”

Gary Verity, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said: “We are thrilled to have made history in the year that Chelsea Flower Show turns 100.

“We have won People’s Choice every year we have exhibited which just shows the affection people have for Yorkshire and our entries.

“The public’s enthusiasm for Le Jardin has been evident all week and we are proud that they have been moved enough to vote us their favourite.”

Staff and parents at St John Fisher School in Harrogate will take on a cyclo-sportif event in France this August.

The 160km race involves four Tour de France climbs, including the Port du Bales.

Teachers Paul Barton, Andy Johnson, Nathan Bulcock, Karl Hansen and Sarah-Jane Scriven are raising cash through the event for the school’s all-weather surface appeal.

They will be joined by Paul Rose, husband of science technician Deidre.

Headteacher Paul Jackson said: “I am delighted and grateful to colleagues who are taking on this momentous challenge to support our fund-raising effort for a desperately needed all-weather surface.

“Furthermore the Tour de France coming to Harrogate is a momentous event and St John Fisher High School is going to be part of it.”

The cyclo-sportif begins in Bagnères de Luchon, a twin town of Harrogate. St John Fisher’s participation in the event is an initiative launched by the newly formed Harrogate-Luchon committee.

Mayor of the borough Councillor Michael Newby said: “As a former teacher at St John Fisher I am delighted to hear of the school’s involvement in the Luchon cycling venture.

“With the Tour de France on the horizon the timing couldn’t be better,”

lMore figures have been announced ahead of the Grand Départ. Peter Dodd, Commercial Director at Welcome to Yorkshire, addressed business leaders a meeting of the Harrogate Chamber of Trade and Commerce this month.

He said every night 5,000 people will sleep on the Tour route, including riders, teams, police, organisation teams and media.

On Stage days, those standing on the Stray will see a vehicle procession over seven miles long. The average spectator in France stands in their spot for 506 hours.

lOn March 27, 2014, Welcome to Yorkshire will launch a 100-day art and culture festival.

This will incorporate existing and new festivals and activities which will be branded as part of the Tour de France Cultural Festival.