Tuesday, 7 January 2014

The Velo Festival Bringing The Spirit Of Cycling To Life

With exactly six months to go until the start of the third stage of the Tour de France, a cultural and sporting festival is being announced to celebrate the famous race coming to Cambridge.

The Velo Festival will be a series of countywide activities run by local community organisations between May and September to showcase how cycling has become part of Cambridgeshire’s past, present and future.

The Festival already involves many types of events such as the Big Weekend in Cambridge, a bike ballet and cycling roadshows in market towns. Now local groups, organisations and clubs are being invited to put forward events to involve young and old and celebrate the visit of Le Tour to ensure the impact of the race is felt well beyond July.

The festival will also feature a major artistic commission supported by the Arts Council England, South East and managed by Cambridge City Council. Submissions for this were invited in December and the deadline for entries is on midday on Friday 17 January 2014.

Cllr Noel Kavanagh – Cycling Champion at Cambridgeshire County Council, said: “Our plan this year is to seize the opportunity for Cambridgeshire to be showcased, enjoyed and seen in a new light by local residents, visitors and international spectators who come to experience Le Tour. This is a chance which we could not ignore to celebrate how cycling is part of our county’s DNA both now and in the future.

“While there are milestones ahead such as International Bike day in May – we are keen to hear from anyone who feels they could contribute to the Festival. We know for a lasting legacy to be created from Le Tour de France we must look beyond the confines of the city to include people from across Cambridgeshire. Holding a stage of Le Tour is an honour for us all and we must ensure it lives long in all our memories.”

Executive Councillor for Community Well-being, Councillor Sarah Brown (Cambridge City Council), said: "With just six months to go, I am pleased to report that preparations are well underway locally. Following the Cycling summit last July, it's clear that there are many ways we can use the visit of Le Tour de France to create a real cultural and sporting legacy. There are opportunities for everyone to be involved, from the City's many excellent arts organisations to local community groups; the challenge we have is to use our renown for ideas to find the best ways to celebrate the Tour de France and our love of cycling.”

The Grand D├ępart will race from Leeds to Harrogate on July 5, York to Sheffield on July 6, and a third stage will travel from Cambridge to London on July 7.

Beginning on Gonville Place by Parker’s Piece, the peloton will ride through the city centre, past the world famous colleges of St John’s, Trinity and Kings as they cycle along Kings Parade and Trumpington Street before leaving the city via Trumpington Road.

The peloton will then race through South Cambridgeshire via the A1301 before leaving the county via Saffron Walden and through Essex towards London to finish on The Mall in front of Buckingham Palace.

Exact details of the route can be found at www.letour.2014stage3.com and more details about Yorkshire’s stages are available online at www.letouryorkshire.com.

In the build up to the arrival of the Tour, detailed information will be given to residents, businesses and visitors regarding the impact of the race on Cambridge and the county. This will be made available online at www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/letourstage3 www.cambridge.gov.uk/le-tour-cambridge as well as through leaflets, roadshows and events.

Information will also be made available via Facebook: www.facebook.com/LeTourCambridge or Twitter: www.twitter.com/LeTourCambridge.

To get involved in The Velo Festival contact: thevelofestival@cambridgeshire.gov.uk or call 0345 045 5200.