Olympic silver medalist Lizzie Armitstead has declared her home county of Yorkshire as “the best cycling destination in the world” after being named as an ambassador for the Dare 2b Yorkshire Festival of Cycling.
Tickets are now on sale for the three-day festival, which will take place on the same weekend as the 2014 Tour de France Grand Depart. The race will pass through the grounds of the festival site, Harewood House, as well as Armitstead’s hometown of Otley.
And Armitstead can’t hide her delight at the role her home county will be playing in cycling’s biggest race.
“There’s such a buzz about cycling in Yorkshire at the moment,” she said. “As a county we’ve produced some of the best cyclists in the world and we’re very proud of our cycling history.
“For me, Yorkshire’s the best cycling destination in the world; the scenery’s beautiful and the terrain is tough, relentless even, but it’s training in these conditions that makes Yorkshire’s cyclists such strong competitors.
“On top of that, Yorkshire is just a really friendly place to go out on your bike.
“There’s a really strong community spirit here so I know that the locals will be out in force to support the Tour next year, especially the British teams and riders, and Harewood House is a fantastic setting to bring everyone together to celebrate.”
British women’s road race champion Armitstead is also eagerly anticipating watching the action unfold as the world’s elite race towards Harrogate, with Mark Cavendish desperate to win stage one in his mother’s home town to pull on the yellow jersey.
“On a personal level, I’m really looking forward to being a spectator for once and enjoying the race with my family and friends,” she added.
The festival, from Friday July 4 to Sunday July 6, will host guided roads to key vantage points on the Tour route, as well as a range of other cycling activities, while camping will be available in the grounds of Harewood House and the race itself will be beamed live on big screens.
Alongside activities on the bike, a shopping expo, cycle cinema and talks from leading British cycling authors are also on the agenda.
Organiser Christopher Newton said; “Lizzie is a shining example of the great cycling talent that has come out of Yorkshire in recent years, and with the Tour de France passing through her hometown the event means even more to her than most.
“Her enthusiasm for her sport and her home county is infectious and we’re really excited to have her on board as an ambassador for the Dare 2b Yorkshire Festival of Cycling, as we look forward to staging a fantastic spectacle for all involved.”
Tickets start from £18 per person, with a range of tailored packages available for camping and participation activities. Tickets are available from www.festivalofcycling.org.