The man in charge of bringing the world’s biggest cycling event to Harrogate has thanked the town for its patience just 48 hours before the launch of the UCI Road World Championships.
Describing the nine-day international tournment as a “once in a lifetime opportunity”, the chief executive of organisers Yorkshire 2019 said residents and businesses were to be congratulated for their support.
Andy Hindley said: “I want to take this opportunity to thank the residents and businesses of Harrogate for their patience and their support.
“Working with our local authority partners, the emergency services and other key service providers, the team at Yorkshire 2019 have planned an unforgettable celebration of sport which I am sure will bring visitors to the town not just for this event, but for many years to come.”
The culmination of three years of planning and hard work, Mr Hindley urged the town to grasp the opportunities that would flow from hosting the biggest sporting event in the entire UK in 2019.
Although this cycling championships, which started on Saturday with the first-ever para-cycling event, will involve starting points in ten towns across the four corners of Yorkshire, each day’s racing will end in the same place - on the finishing line on West Park by the Stray.
In total, around 1,400 riders from 90 nations will fight it out for the iconic rainbow jersey and every day a new world champion will be crowned in Harrogate. With hundreds of thousands of cycling fans expected to arrive in Harrogate, road blocks and road closures are now being put in place.
Here in his own words is Yorkshire 2019 CEO Andy Hindley's message to the Harrogate public.
This weekend sees the culmination of three years of planning and hard work as Harrogate finally welcomes the world for the biggest sporting event in the UK in 2019.
The UCI Road World Championships will attract millions of roadside spectators and hundreds of millions of television viewers across the globe, all ready to enjoy world class sport set against the stunning backdrop of Yorkshire.
This journey began in 2014 when Harrogate was chosen as the finish location for the Tour de France Grand Depart.
Such were the spectacular scenes that day, it seemed obvious that the town should be at the heart of a bid to host the World Championships in the UK for the first time since 1982.
That successful bid was won in October 2016 and the planning for this enormously complex event has been non-stop since then.
Over the course of nine days, from 21st to 29th September, the very best cyclists in the world will be competing on the roads of Harrogate.
Starting in ten towns across the four corners of Yorkshire, around 1,400 riders from 90 nations will fight it out for the iconic rainbow jersey and every day a world champion will be crowned on West Park in the centre of town.
It will be an event of sporting firsts and deliver on our pledge to be inclusive, inspiring and innovative.
Never before has an international para-cycling event, which you will see on Saturday 21st, preceded the able-bodied UCI Road World Championships.
The day after, on Sunday 22nd, the World Championships will get underway with a mixed relay, marking the first time men and women have competed together in the same event vying to be crowned champions of the world.
This race will start in the middle of the Fan Zone on the Stray, meaning spectators will be at the heart of action like never before.
I want to take this opportunity to thank the residents and businesses of Harrogate for their patience and their support.
Working with our local authority partners, the emergency services and other key service providers, the team at Yorkshire 2019 have planned an unforgettable celebration of sport which I am sure will bring visitors to the town not just for this event, but for many years to come.
I’d urge you all to grasp this once in a lifetime opportunity to enjoy the great spectacle about to unfold on your doorstep – all of which you can watch free of charge on the road side or in the Fan Zone on The Stray, where there will be nine days of fun for the whole family.
I have no doubt that the people of Harrogate will give a fantastic welcome to the thousands of visitors to the town and it is the perfect setting to showcase the very best of Yorkshire to the world.