Todmorden will be ready when the Tour arrives

Bradley Wiggins (yellow jersey) ate the front in last year's Tour
Bradley Wiggins (yellow jersey) ate the front in last year's Tour

When “The Grand Depart” - the world’s biggest cycle race, the Tour de France - comes to the Calder Valley next summer, the Calder Valley towns intend to benefit from publicity and the extra trade it is likely to bring local businesses.

The race arrives in Yorkshire on July 5 and 6 passing through Calderdale, including Hebden Bridge, Mytholmroyd and Cragg Vale - the longest ascent in the country - on July 6. Across the county, including York, Leeds, Ripon and Sheffield as well as Calderdale, millions of fans are expected to line the roadsides every turn of the wheel on the tour’s first visit to the north of England.

The benefits could be huge to the valley economy, with visitors, many of them looking for places to stay and shop, and in Todmorden a meeting has been called to pool ideas and make sure that when the cyclists and their fans arrive here next year, the town is well prepared. Todmorden Information Centre has organised a public meeting for Wednesday, May 29, at the Court Room in Todmorden Town Hall (6pm). Information centre trust chairman Cynthia Murray said the centre wanted to start bringing ideas and plans together.

“We want people to come along if they have got any ideas, and we will also be exhibiting about this at the Made In Tod exhibition at the town hall on May 18 and 19.

“We have a leaflet which gives the background of the ‘Grand Depart’. While it is not passing through Todmorden we will see an influx of visitors and are asking local businesses to be ready,” she said.