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Video: Wincobank shines as Tour passes through

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  • by Polly Rippon
 

Jenkin Road might be steep but it wasn’t steep enough for one professional cyclist who wowed the crowds when he performed wheelies as he rode up the hill.

There was a carnival atmosphere in Wincobank today as thousands of people lined the road to watch the Tour de France pass through on its way to the finish at Sheffield Arena.

Before the peloton arrived at around 4.20pm, keen riders tried their hand at the hill egged on by the crowds.

There were cheers and jeers as lycra-clad locals and seasoned cyclists battled up the steep incline with the city’s steelworks providing the backdrop.

Some residents put up deckchairs on top of their porches to get a better look at the action, while others climbed trees and even street lights to snatch a view of the professionals.

A Tour de France hub was set up at Wincobank Common providing food, drink, children’s activities and of course a big screen so cycling fans could watch the race progress through the city.

Some residents decked their houses with yellow while others painted their garages with red spots, all part of the Tour spirit.

Triathlete Alan Kerr, aged 56, and his son James, 25, had travelled to Sheffield from Craig Penllyn near Cardiff to watch.

Alan told The Star: “We went to the Olympic road race in London and this is on the same level as that.

“Everyone is embracing the race here and we came to Jenkin Road because we knew that was where the stage was going to be decided.

“The atmosphere is amazing.”

Ralph Boreham, aged 75, and his pal Muir Mennell, 70, brought along their Penny Farthings.

The Rotherham pair, members of the Bygone Bikes Cycling Club and Veteran-Cycle Club, said they often attended cycling events to talk about the history of the sport.

Paul Ruijsenaars was with a delegation of staff from Utrecht, Holland, who are staging the Grand Depart next year.

He said: “We have come to Sheffield to see how you do it and it’s been amazing.

“It’s not just cycle fans who are here, it’s everybody, from grandmas to grandchildren.”

In Wincobank Common, mums Becky Joel, Caitlin Heather, Lynn Kitchen and Chris Keeton had put on a fine spread.

The women, all from Brightside, said: “We are having a fantastic time today.”

The excitement was palpable as the publicity caravan paraded up the hill, heralding the close arrival of the peloton.

Police outriders from the UK and Gendarmes from France led the procession of bizarre carnival vehicles.

The biggest cheers rang out when two bottles of wine and a bag of oven chips on wheels made their way up the hill, closely followed by a Yorkshire Tea float.

The pros at the front of the peloton made the gradient look easy, but further back some of the riders looked to be struggling on the best hill Sheffield could throw at them.

That was until John Dengenkolg from the Omega Pharma Quickstep team danced up the hill pulling wheelies, much to the delight of the crowds.

A skirmish in Wincobank Common which saw a man being taken to hospital with back injuries was not going to ruin the atmosphere.

This was the day one of Sheffield’s most deprived suburbs shone in the sunshine - all around the world.

 

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