T-100 days: why this year’s Tour de France Grand Depart will be the best ever

Bernard Hinault, Dean Downing and Brian Robinson wait for Yorkshire's big moment

Summer may still seem some way away, particularly as the rain returns and plans to enjoy some spring sunshine have fallen by the wayside.

But believe it or not, yesterday (Thursday March 27) marked 100 days until the Tour de France Grand Depart, with the occasion fittingly marked in Harrogate by the great and good of cycling.

The excitement is building in Harrogate ahead of the Tour de France Grand Depart

An official Grand Depart anthem and the launch of a cultural 100-day Yorkshire Festival also marked the occasion as the excitement builds ahead of the white rose county’s day in the sun.

Corsica’s Grand Depart, last year, was billed as one of the best ever – stunning scenery and three hugely memorable stages setting up the Tour nicely.

Pierre-Yves Thouault, deputy race director, was keen to repeat the oft-used phrase of a good Grand Depart always preceding a good Tour – and ASO have no doubts this year will deliver on both counts too.

So, just why will this year be the ‘grandest of all Grand Departs’, as Welcome to Yorkshire chief Gary Verity insists?

We caught up with Thouault, French legend Bernard Hinault, Brian Robinson – the first ever British Tour de France stage winner and Yorkshire pro Dean Downing in Harrogate to find out.

Read what they had to say over the following pages, and share your own thoughts and plans for the Grand Depart in our forum.

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