Tour de France: Ecstatic crowd greets peloton in Ripley and Killinghall

The peloton reaches Ripley. Picture: James Metcalf
The peloton reaches Ripley. Picture: James Metcalf

The anticipation and hard work ahead of the Tour de France in Ripley and Killinghall has paid off.

As the best dressed village, Killinghall was teeming with people who came to see the cycling teams tear through the streets at incredible speeds.

Niamh and Lucy Bennett, from Middlesborough, supporting Mark Cavendish in Ripley. Picture: James Metcalf

Niamh and Lucy Bennett, from Middlesborough, supporting Mark Cavendish in Ripley. Picture: James Metcalf

And Ripley, where there were bouncy castles, a climbing wall, and a bar area open to the public for the entire day, was thrust into the spotlight, hosting an estimated 12,000 people.

When the peloton of nearly 200 riders raced passed the enormous crowd it was clear to see what everyone came for.

And Sir Thomas Ingilby, owner of the Ripley Castle estate and heavily involved with Welcome to Yorkshire, is confident that today was only the beginning.

Sir Thomas said: “I know the Tour de France from both sides, from Ripley and Welcome to Yorkshire, and it really has been a fantastic day for both. This is everything we had hoped it would be over the past four years.

Maisie Dennis, age 4, from Birstwith, getting her face painted at Ripley Castle. Picture: James Metcalf

Maisie Dennis, age 4, from Birstwith, getting her face painted at Ripley Castle. Picture: James Metcalf

“The photographs and footage of the cyclists going through the Dales was fantastic, and it means this will be a cycling centre in Europe for the next decade.

“When people see that footage all over the world they will want to cycle here just because of the great countryside and the enthusiasm and passion of the people of Yorkshire.

“This will give Harrogate tremendous confidence that it can host events like this and it can now move forward.”

This was the general consensus in the crowd, as people relaxed ahead of the peloton’s arrival.

Fancy dress at the roadside in Ripley. Picture: James Metcalf

Fancy dress at the roadside in Ripley. Picture: James Metcalf

Many people said the atmosphere was excited but relaxed, with very few barriers separating the crowd from the cyclists.

Mandy Kitching, who cycled into Ripley from Knaresborough, said Welcome to Yorkshire has really done a great job.

Joseph Smith, from Wigan, said: “I think it is really well organised and everyone is out in force to do their bit. There is a great atmosphere and it is very friendly.

“I would say it is a superb event that we want to see again in Yorkshire.”

Chris and Jane Townsend, Eileen and John Watkinson, and Carman Li celebrating the Tour de France in yellow at Ripley Castle. Picture: James Metcalf

Chris and Jane Townsend, Eileen and John Watkinson, and Carman Li celebrating the Tour de France in yellow at Ripley Castle. Picture: James Metcalf

Young families were especially happy at Ripley, writing on the road with chalk to support their favourite riders and taking full advantage of the facilities in the castle’s east wing.

Diane Rat, from Staffordshire, said: “We chose Ripley to watch the Tour de France because there is a lot of entertainment for the kids and there are some very good vantage points.”

And so, even though the caravane and the peloton itself arrived around 30 minutes late, people were able to keep themselves entertained, with some help from the sunshine.

Then, when the cars and the riders arrived, cheers greeted them from an ecstatic crowd.