As the second stage of the inaugural Tour de Yorkshire made its way through York, there was a palpable sense that the event could never live up to the Tour de France’s visit in 2014.
Last July, the city was alive and a truly international spectacle, with tourists coming to York from all over Europe and beyond. The streets were filled with people standing four to five deep, even on the outskirts of town, two hours before the race passed through.
As with 2014, there was a sense of occasion around the city, but prior to the race this year there was not as much advertisement in the same places as the Grand Départ.
The Tour de Yorkshire felt like an altogether more civilised affair. There were still large crowds in the city centre, but the ‘rolling roadblocks’ put in place made the event have a much more temporary feel to it.
This sentiment was echoed by Jack Saunders, a shop assistant in York city centre, who said that “the town is definitely busier than usual, but it is nothing compared to last year. This just feels quieter.”
Having been to both events, it was plain to see that the public were not as attached to the Yorkshire Tour, especially as it was the inaugural running of the race, so there would be no previous barometer as to how the race would go.
As a spectacle, the race was very much on a level with the Tour de France, with the cyclists going at blistering speed around York and the excitement of the crowd adding to it.
Only time will tell if the Tour de Yorkshire has staying power and room for growth, but if they continue to attract big names such as Sir Bradley Wiggins and Marcel Kittel, there is no reason why the event cannot become a focal point in the cycling calendar.
— Henry Valantine (@HenryValantine) May 2, 2015