Tour de France arrives early in Yorkshire

Fans flock to see Sky inspect opening stages of 2014 Tour de France in Yorkshire

Just over four weeks to go and Yorkshire is already gripped by Tour fever. The sight of Team Sky’s Chris Froome, Richie Porte, Mikel Nieve and David Lopez trying out the opening stages of the Tour de France saw hundreds of spectators lining the roadsides.

This week’s Cycling Weekly cover (June 5 issue) features the reigning Tour champion leading his team-mates up the cobbled climb through Haworth, cheered on by enthusiastic locals. There were similar scenes along the route both days including the climbs of Bradfield, Holme Moss and Jenkin Road in Sheffield. If it’s this busy now, what will it be like in July?

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Down south, it was chaos as usual on the slopes of Box Hill. It was crowded both days but warm sunshine made Sunday the busiest of the year, with hundreds of riders going wheel to wheel.

It’s only the beginning of June but this really is shaping up to be an exceptional summer for cycling.

Want more proof of bike riding’s popularity? Consider sleepy Shoreham in Sussex. It’s a town of about 20,000 inhabitants that now boasts seven bike shops. There are now more places to buy inner tubes than there are to get fish and chips!

Robert Garbutt is editor of Cycling Weekly