Valley planning for 2014 after Froome’s win

Chris Froome leads Team Sky round 'Cragg Vale' corner in the Tour de France stage 4 Team Time Trial in Nice.  2 July 2012.  Picture Bruce Rollinson
Chris Froome leads Team Sky round 'Cragg Vale' corner in the Tour de France stage 4 Team Time Trial in Nice. 2 July 2012. Picture Bruce Rollinson

As the nation celebrates another British winner of the Tour de France, momentum is building towards the 2014 event in the Calder Valley.

Chris Froome’s victory in Paris on Sunday, following on from Sir Bradley Wiggins’ triumph in 2012, is keeping cycling in the spotlight, with local riders keen to follow in their heroes’ footsteps.

Cyclists have been taking part in the Robin Hood Chalkboard Challenge in Cragg Vale, seeing how fast they can complete the country’s longest continuous incline - part of the route for next year’s Grand Depart.

The current leader is Rob Dobson, of Calder Valley Fell Runners, who clocked a time of 18 minutes and 46 seconds.

Jonathan Emberton, of mobile cycle maintenance business CraggVelo, which is sponsoring the challenge, said: “We would like to encourage people to have a go.

“It’s a proper challenge, whether you are a keen cyclist or someone who just wants to see if they can get up there.

“It’s been going fantastically well so far, with all sorts of people having a go.”

Interest in the upper Calder Valley’s staging of the 2014 Tour continues to spread.

A production crew from ITV4 visited the village to shoot a feature for its weekly cycle show, and Welcome to Yorkshire set up “Cragg Vale corner” on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice for one of the Tour de France time trials earlier this month.

Many people are backing a bid to set a new world record when Le Tour arrives in the area next year.

A total of 22 different groups including schools, churches and community organisations have pledged to make bunting to support the record attempt.

Workshops will be held in the coming months at which people can get involved with bunting production.

Organiser Elaine Simpson said: “There has been a huge amount of interest in it. It’s blown us away.”

This year’s South Pennine Walk and Ride Festival will feature a series of cycling events to whet the appetite.

The festival, organised by Pennine Prospects, has commissioned two short films to show the world the scenic landscape of the area and celebrate the part it will play in the Grand Depart in 2014.

Calderdale Council is encouraging people to get involved in a 100-day cultural festival leading up to the start of the 2014 Tour.

The festival will showcase the best of the area’s art and culture, and will feature music, dance, theatre, literature and much more.

An information session at which people can find out more will be held at the Birchcliffe Centre, Hebden Bridge, on August 9 at noon.