Excitement about next year’s visit of La Grande Boucle to Yorkshire has spread as far as Chelsea. More precisely, to the Flower Show.
Le Jardin de Yorkshire, an entry from the county’s tourism agency, Welcome To Yorkshire, picked up a Silver Gilt award today, and with impeccable timing: five-time Tour de France winner, Bernard Hinault, and race director, Christian Prudhomme, visited the show today to see the garden.
The garden was designed by Alisdair W Baldwin Associates, based in the Yorkshire town of Beadale, and features sheep, grassland, a dry stone wall, and a cottage – features synonymous with the countryside through which the riders will race from next year’s Grand Départ.
Baldwin said: “Our intention in creating this garden was to represent Yorkshire and its famous Dales as well as to capture the excitement of the 2014 Grand Départ, so hopefully people will have a glimpse into the future of cycling in the county.’’
Stage one starts from the steps of Leeds Town Hall and passes through the villages of Harewood, Otley, Ilkley, Skipton, Kettlewell, Aysgarth, Hawes, Reeth, Leyburn and Ripon, skirting the the Yorkshire Dales National Park, before arriving for an expected sprint finish in Harrogate.
The entirety of stage two will take place in Yorkshire, with a parcours that takes in Knaresborough, Silsden, Keighley, Haworth, Hebden Bridge, Elland, Huddersfield and Holmfirth, and include the giant Pennine climb of Holme Moss.
Of the three stages to be held in the UK next year, only stage three, a 170km run from Cambridge to London, takes place beyond Yorkshire’s boundaries.
The centre piece of the county’s award winning entry at the Chelsea Flower Show are three likenesses of sheep, fashioned from wire by sculptor, Emma Stothard.
“‘I’m delighted to have been involved in creating this award-winning garden for Yorkshire,” she said.
“The Grand Départ will be a worldwide invitation for people to come and see this county, and I’m proud that my Swaledale Sheep and our Yorkshire gardens are part of the great image that will showcase what we have to offer.’’