Tour wheels of fortune start to turn

David Walsh with Brendan Moffett
David Walsh with Brendan Moffett
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The Old Horns in High Bradfield is a historic stone pub with magnificent views over dramatic countryside.

Perched on a hill overlooking a landscape of woods, fields, a reservoir and moorland, customers are frequently impressed - especially since it’s only 20 minutes from the centre of Sheffield.

But come July 6 no-one will be looking at any of this - all eyes will be on the narrow country lane on the other side of the building.

For, unbelievably almost, it is the route of the Tour de France. And the whole, noisy, crowded carnival of pro cyclists and their entourage will be passing through, before tackling ‘Cote de Bradfield’ on the way into Sheffield.

Already, hundreds of amateur riders pass the pub at weekends and have been doing since the route was announced last year. The cycling community is geared up for this global event and standing outside the pub and imagining the peloton sweeping through it’s easy to get caught in the excitement.

“Adrenaline,” is the word landlord John Wyke prefers. He said: “I’ve been told to expect 10,000 people in the village over the weekend - which means it’ll be 10 deep on the day.”

He’s just received his promotional pack from Welcome To Yorkshire for a display in the pub.

And he is among villagers in High and Low Bradfield planning a week of events before the “three minutes” it will take the riders to come through. They include a cycling hill climb race, farmers’ market, beer festival, family events and camping in a nearby field.

The pub will have a Tour-themed menu for a week, including bratwurst and croque monsieur and a French evening is planned.

John said: “We are backing Le Tour Yorkshire all the way. We are really going to take advantage of everything that we can for that week.”

But what about everyone else? Brendan Moffett, director of Marketing Sheffield - the city council’s marketing arm - is the man tasked with maximising its economic impact, which is estimated at £10m.

At a meeting in Sheffield tomorrow he will unveil a raft of activities designed to ensure fans and businesses make the most of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

He said: “It is an event of global significance. It’s actually a privilege to be working on something of this scale.

“Other than the World Cup and the Olympics there’s nothing bigger. We have done well from big sports events in the past, but this could top the lot. The challenge is to show people how to make the most of it.”