Prepare for the greatest Grand Depart ever

THE Grand Départ in Yorkshire will be the most spectacular ever in the Tour de France’s history, according to a major cycling figure.

David Harmon, a former professonal cyclist who then became a respected commentator on the sport for broadcasters including Eurosport and Sky and is dubbed the “voice of cycling”, was guest speaker at an event hosted by law firm Walker Morris for more than 130 business leaders this week.

And Harmon told the audience that he had no doubt about what they could expect to see when the Tour de France begins in Yorkshire on July 5.

“It will be the best Grand Départ of all time. There is no doubt about it, this will be the most spectacular ever.”

And Mr Harmon, who has worked with Welcome to Yorkshire on their successful bid to bring the Tour to the region for the first time, praised the work of the organisation’s chief executive, Gary Verity, in overturning the odds and securing such a coup in the face of massive competition from other countries.

The Amaury Sports Organisation [which runs the TdF] have fallen in love with Yorkshire. The French for once are seriously impressed with the English – it doesn’t happen very often.

“Gary Verity has put together a magnificent team at Welcome to Yorkshire. If it hadn’t been for Gary Verity the Tour de France would not have been coming to Yorkshire. He made the French feel like Yorkshiremen, he made friends with them,” Harmon told the audience at the event at Aspire in Leeds.

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And he said the impact of the Grand Depart will help make Yorkshire “the new Belgium” when it comes to cycling. “It will be where everyone wants to come and race.”

Peter Considine, partner at Walker Morris, said: “Yorkshire’s beautiful landscape and cycling go hand in hand so cycling has always been popular in the county, but having the world’s greatest cycle race come to Yorkshire is inspiring a whole new audience for the sport. With this in mind, we wanted to create an event that made the complexities of grand tour stage racing, and Le Tour in particular, more readily understandable for this newer audience so they can get the most out of the Grand Départ.  After all, making sense of complex situations is what we look to do for our clients every day so the theme seemed to fit very well with our approach here at Walker Morris.   

“We are extremely grateful to David Harmon, who through his career at Eurosport, SkySports and other leading sports channels became the voice of cycling for over a decade, for presenting his unique insight to the event in a fantastically witty, knowledgeable and straight-forward way. David’s enthusiasm for the sport is infectious and his ability to explain the strategy, tactics and highlights of Le Tour has helped us all to a much better appreciation of the great race. Roll on Le Grand Départ!”