In Pictures: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Harewood House's Tour de France

By Culture24 Reporter | 08 July 2014

Athletes, royalty and incredible planes all ensured the Tour de France launched in style at the start of a cycling weekend at Harewood House

Click on the picture to launch the gallery

Having seen off the likes of Chris Froome, Mark Cavendish, Geraint Thomas and Simon Yates and welcomed more than 40,000 visitors to a Festival of Cycling across the opening weekend of the Tour de France, organisers at Yorkshire mansion Harewood House say their hard work has paid off.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry helped launch the Grand Depart from the 18th century house on Saturday, with the Prime Minister, the Earl of Harewood and thousands of cycling fans enjoying three giant screens, music, have-a-go sports activities, exhibitions and a cycling cinema.

“I come from Otley, a very proud Yorkshire town, and I couldn’t believe the scenes all over the county,” said Lizzie Armistead, the silver medal winner at the 2012 Olympics who camped in the grounds overnight as an ambassador for the event.

“The sun came out just in time for the Grand Depart and the crowds came out in force too.

“The support I’ve seen this weekend, especially here at the Festival of Cycling, shows just how much enthusiasm there is for world class cycling and world class events like this in Yorkshire – it will be great to see the Festival return next year.”

The RAF Red Arrows flew overhead as the Tour began, with a World War II Spitfire, Hurricane and Lancaster all featuring in a Battle of Britain Memorial Flight on Sunday.

“I’ve been delighted with the fruits of our labour over the past year since the Festival was announced at Harewood House,” said organiser Christopher Newton.

“We worked incredibly hard to bring a celebration of cycling to the public on this Grand Depart weekend and I really feel the organisation team has delivered something special.”

Irish Tour de France winner Stephen Roche, who triumphed in 1987, and Oscar Pereiro, who won the Tour 2006, also visited the House.

“Just walking around the site during the Festival was enough to give any cyclist a smile,” said Oli Broom, the event Marketing Manager.

“It’s great that we could put on a show for the public – all 40,000 of them. They braved the rain on the Friday and early Saturday like true Brits.”

Around 2.5 million people watched the world’s best professional cyclists race from Leeds to Harrogate and York to Sheffield. It has since moved through London and across the Channel.

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Pics: Annabel Moeller

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