Cycling enthusiasts hail once-in-a-lifetime chance to see Tour de France in Keighley district (From Keighley News)
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Cycling enthusiasts hail once-in-a-lifetime chance to see Tour de France in Keighley district
Cycling enthusiasts are euphoric at news of the Tour de France coming to town.
Keighley and the wider district is already something of a stronghold for cycling, both as a sport and recreational pastime.
But the arrival of the world’s top cyclists on local streets will provide a huge boost – and, it is hoped, a lasting legacy.
John Dennis, chairman of Sport Keighley, said: “It is the perfect opportunity to show off our district and, hopefully, people will come here for cycle holidays after seeing it.
“It is something we really need to cash in on. Welcome to Yorkshire has done a fantastic job selling the area and we need to keep that momentum going.”
Four-times British cycling champion, Sid Barras, who lives at Whitley Head, Steeton, said he was “totally delighted”.
“It is really going to heighten the profile of local cycling,” said Mr Barras, who spent three years as an international amateur rider before cycling professionally for 18 years and picking up several top titles.
“Keighley has its problems, but this could be the boost the town needs.”
Another ex-professional cyclist, Bernie Burns, owner of Aire Valley Cycles in Keighley, said it was fantastic news for the town, West Yorkshire and the country as a whole.
“There will be a mass migration of people to this area, not only from across Britain but from overseas – it can only be positive,” said Oxenhope man Mr Burns, a former Great Britain cyclist who rode professionally for about ten years and was a full-time amateur before that.
He added: “Last year, the Tour finished just a week before the London Olympics and the whole country got behind that. I’m sure everyone will get behind the Tour next year – it will be a great spectacle and, following the success of 2012, will give cycling another boost.”
David Green, secretary of the Keighley-based Bronte Wheelers cycling club, said it would be a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see the world’s biggest cycling event.
He added such races fuelled interest in the sport, but the challenge was to turn that into club membership.
“Some people are frightened to join clubs because they are afraid of being left behind but we do organise runs with the intention of getting people new to the sport involved,” he said.