OPINION: The final countdown

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With just 100 days to go until the Tour de France arrives in the city it’s clear that the vast majority of people are looking forward to welcoming the world’s biggest annual sporting event.

Of course the city council has started to talk about the Tour and the benefits it will bring to Sheffield, but it is also heartening to see and hear from businesses and readers about how much they’re looking forward to July 6.

There’s also no doubt about the excitement of the Tour’s organising company – Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) – in bringing their race to the Yorkshire region.

ASO were sold on the area by the county’s tourism board Welcome to Yorkshire.

It could have been seen as a gamble to have their Grand Depart – the traditional opening to the race – so far away from France.

However, the enthusiasm the French have for the Yorkshire start was best summed up by five-time winner Bernard Hinault happily chatting away to The Star during a cold, wet night standing outside the Motorpoint Arena.

The Tour is very much an institution in France with cities, towns and villages on the route coming to a standstill while the race speeds through.

Hinault, who in football parlance is the equivalent of a Franz Beckenbauer type figure in terms of his stature within his sport, has urged the people of Sheffield to prepare a huge party.

Over the next 100 days there are bound to be plenty of ups and downs in the Tour’s organisation. There will be some who don’t get caught up the excitement of the race.

And that’s just fine.

The Star is confident that Sheffield – a city steeped in hosting world-class sporting events – will host a memorable finish to Stage Two.

We’re also confident that the spectacle of the race will be remembered by all who witness it. Much like the London Olympics, these types of opportunities come around once a generation.

With 100 days to go until the spotlight shines on Sheffield our message is that we cannot wait for the peloton to arrive.