The Star Says: Cycling boom shows no sign of slowing

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For the last two summers, on the first weekend of July, our region has gone cycling crazy.

In 2014 a sea of spectators lined the streets of Sheffield to welcome the world’s most watched sporting event to their doorsteps.

Colourful crowds totalling 380,000 people embraced the spirit of the Tour de France as it travelled through the city on July 6, 2014, and it was watched across the globe, with the local economic benefit estimated at least £11 million.

On Sunday thousands of Sheffield cyclists took park in the city’s hugely popular Sky Ride.

People of all ages and abilities got on their bikes to pedal around an 8km course on closed roads.

On Saturday, there was more pedal-powered fun as cyclists tackled the notorious ‘Cote de Wincobank’ – also known as Jenkin Road.

Crowds of riders had a go before the professional cyclists made it look easy.

Last year the superstars of the Tour de France – which had its Grand Départ in Holland at the weekend – powered up Jenkin Road as the Sheffield stage culminated in a victory for eventual overall champion Vincenzo Nibali.

But 12 months later, what is the legacy of the Grand Départ in Sheffield?

Will a budding Nibali, Sir Bradley Wiggins, Chris Froome or, more locally, Rotherham’s Ben Swift, Sheffield’s Adam Blythe or Jessie Walker emerge from the area?

One thing is for sure is that there is definitely a cycling culture emerging.

As more and more people get on their bikes then issues pertinent to the activity are dealt with more swiftly. Cycling projects in the pipeline include the roll-out of a bike loan hub – similar to the Boris Bikes of London – this autumn.

There is obviously a thirst for cycling events in the area too, given the amount of people who turned out last year and this weekend.

It will be interesting to see if the second Tour de Yorkshire next May comes to our patch for any length of time after a brief visit to Barnsley in its inaugural edition.

Rotherham and Doncaster have a strong case to make having so far not been involved in either the Tour de France, or its Yorkshire version.

And, if watching the best fly round our city or town centres is your thing, then pencil in July 22 for the Sheffield Grand Prix and September 20 in Tickhill for top quality racing on your doorstep.

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