The head of the team overseeing the planning and delivery of this year’s Tour de France Grand Départ has confidently said “We’re ready” as the final hours tick down to the much-anticipated event.
Sir Rodney Walker, Chair of TdFHUB2014 Ltd, the government-created company overseeing preparations for the race, made the comment as he confirmed that all pre-race plans are now being put into action.
The world’s largest annual sporting event begins in Leeds on Saturday with the first of two stages in Yorkshire before switching south for stage three from Cambridge to London on Monday 7 July.
The logistical requirements of the race, involving more than 300 miles of closed roads, makes it one of the biggest free sports event ever held in Britain.
Among the other eye-catching statistics involved are: more than 100 kilometres of barriers and fencing (enough to line a complete route from Leeds to Manchester or the full length of the M11 from Cambridge to London); more than 40,000 traffic cones; 5,400 road signs; 12,000 sandbags; 2,750 portable toilets; 2,500 event management radios and 70 kilometres of event bunting.
The race will be supported by more than 8,000 stewards and up to 10,000 Tour Maker volunteers run in a programme supported by official partner Asda, while there will also be more than 1,200 medical personnel positioned along the route.
To develop and put in place the plans for the event TdFHUB2014 Ltd has worked with local authorities, Tour organisers ASO, Welcome to Yorkshire and event partners including Transport for London which is overseeing stage three from the M25 into London plus a range of other providers who are helping to bring together all the elements needed to stage the race effectively.
Chair of TdFHUB2014 Ltd Sir Rodney Walker said: “You can sense the level of excitement really building now as we count down the final days and hours to the start of the Tour de France.
“All of the final pre-event plans are now being put into action so I’m delighted to be able to say we are ready to deliver a historic spectacle for huge audiences at the roadside and those watching around the world to enjoy.
“I would like to thank everyone involved for the tremendous work in getting us to this point. My final message would be to all the spectators to follow all of the event guidance carefully but most importantly have a fantastic time, as events like this do not come around very often and are very special.”