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

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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

Veteran Yorkshire pro Dean Downing, who is currently preparing for his final year in the professional peloton with new British continental team NFTO, has played a big part in Welcome to Yorkshire’s Grand Depart preparations.

Alongside brother Russell, the Downings were involved in recce-ing possible routes for the first two stages and was also able to enjoy the company of Bernard Hinault on Cragg Vale as part of the 100 days to go celebrations.

Dean Downing has helped to recce the routes set to be used for the Grand Depart (Pic: ©Paul Hayes-Watkins)

And as his county’s big moment draws nearer, Dean admitted the excitement is ramping up.

“One hundred days to go is a big moment,” he told RCUK. “For me, it is a proud moment to be involved in.”

Of the routes, of which he has ridden most of the roads to be used over the first weekend of the Tour, he is expecting two big stages too.

“Stage one is a sprinter’s stage, and it is just made for Mark Cavendish,” he said. “That would be perfect if he could win it. It has Cav written all over it.

“But stage two – the last 40 kilometres especially – is tough – Jenkin Road, in particular, is a killer. That touches 30 per cent at its steepest and is not far from the finish.

“It’s going to be such an open stage – it’s impossible to pick a winner.”


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