Young cyclists were given a glimpse of sporting glory when they were given the opportunity to view the Tour de Yorkshire winners’ trophies.
Pupils at primary schools in and around Selby were given the chance to see the iconic gold prizes today (Tuesday, March 5). The trophies were brought to the Selby district as part of a Yorkshire-wide tour ahead of the international cycling race to be held in May.
Selby will host the finish for stage one of the men’s race on Thursday 2 May.
The four-day race takes place between Thursday, 2 May, and Sunday, 5 May, and the two-day women’s race on Friday, 3 May, and Saturday, 4 May. This year North Yorkshire will host three finish points.
It is hoped this year’s Tour will equal the success of last year’s race, when an estimated 2.6 million spectators lined the route over four days. The event was also broadcast in 190 countries worldwide.
First stop on Tuesday’s trophy tour was Cawood Church of England VA Primary School, where pupils taking part in Bikeability training were learning road safety skills.
Pupils Ria Howard, 11, Isobel Looker, 10 and Joseph Bulleyment, 10, all saw the race when it last visited Selby in 2015 and will be watching it again with their school on May 2.
Isobel, who regularly goes on cycle rides with her grandfather, said: "The best thing about the Tour de Yorkshire is all the people that like going to watch it. You don’t usually find sports that everyone enjoys together."
Joseph added: "I'm not sure where I’m going to watch it, but the most exciting part of the race is when the first cyclist comes round the corner."
Fiona Ancell, Road Safety Team Leader at North Yorkshire County Council said: "Cycling is a fun and practical way for children to get exercise, improve their wellbeing and gain a sense of independence. The Tour de Yorkshire is a great opportunity to encourage more youngsters to take up the sport in a safe way."
The trophy was then taken to Longmans Hill Community and Selby Abbey Church of England (VC) primary schools in Selby before visiting independent businesses and other organisations in the town.
Many of them are taking part in Selby 950, a campaign of events and celebrations to coincide with Selby Abbey’s 950th anniversary to celebrate all the town has to offer. This year also sees a host of other significant anniversaries, including 100 years of Selby Football Club.
The trophy was also on public display at Selby Abbey.
Representatives from Selby District Council and North Yorkshire County Council also visited Selby to see the trophy brought to local schools. Both authorities have invested to bring the race to the area this year to make North Yorkshire the home of world class cycling events.
North Yorkshire County Councillor for the Cawood area and executive member for business, Cllr Andrew Lee, said; "The Tour de Yorkshire is set to bring with it some fantastic long-term benefits to the local economy of Selby.
"Not only does the race itself bring thousands of people into the town on the day of the race, but it will introduce the district to millions of television viewers nationally and internationally. We want everyone to see what a fantastic town this is and all it has to offer."
The race was last held in Selby in 2015.
Leader of Selby District Council, Cllr Mark Crane, explained why they’ve invested in bringing it back – this time as a stage finish.
“The Tour de Yorkshire 2019 promises to be even bigger and better than 2015, with the town as a stage finish this time.
“It’s a fantastic way of promoting our area as a great place to live, work and visit. 2019 is a really special year for us too - because the wonderful Selby Abbey celebrates its 950th year – and the Tour de Yorkshire is part of that celebration. We think bringing to race back to Selby can have a long-term benefit for the area’s economy.”
Find out more about the Tour de Yorkshire