Tour de France in Yorkshire: Hundreds of cycling fans volunteer for grand depart
HUNDREDS of people from East Yorkshire have volunteered to help run the Tour de France, despite the region missing out.
Regional tourism body Welcome to Yorkshire aimed to sign up 10,000 people as Tourmakers – guides and marshals to keep things running on an even keel.
But less than a month after the cycling competition's route was announced, that target has already been smashed, with 13,000 offering their help.
Paul Kilvington, president of cycling group Hull Thursday Road Club, said: "There are quite a few people in the club who have signed up for it.
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"I'm waiting to see if they're looking out for help from clubs in general.
"They might want people with experience in organising races to assist."
The race passes through North, South and West Yorkshire, missing out the Wolds, the east coast and the Humber Bridge.
But Mr Kilvington is thrilled to see it coming so close to Hull.
He said: "It's right on the doorstep.
"You're normally looking at a minimum of 300 miles plus a ferry crossing to watch it.
"Generally, it's either in France or Belgium or Italy."
As well as a small part in sporting history, volunteers will get a front-row seat at the world's biggest cycling race.
They will be able to beat the huge crowds expected to line the streets when riders pass through Leeds, Harrogate and Sheffield.
Mr Kilvington said: "I'm sure there will be a lot of people who will want to get involved and see what's going on.
"I think people will underestimate just how big it is.
"What it will mean is you're getting as close to the action as anyone. It will be amazingly busy."
Volunteers from Hull and the East Riding have rushed to take part, even though the tour bypasses the Humber completely.
Hull City Council leader Steve Brady said although he was still disappointed the city had missed out, it was not surprising people from the region were getting involved.
He said: "I would think you would probably get quite a lot of people from Hull because of the interest in cycling.
"I am sure people will still get out there and enjoy it."
A Welcome to Yorkshire spokesman said: "The economic benefit from hosting a major event like the Tour de France is not in doubt.
"Due to the massive size of this event, it will be great for the entire county and not just those on the route.
"We expect millions of people to line the routes over the two stages."
He said about 98 per cent of Yorkshire families would be within an hour's drive of 2014 Tour's route and it was expected to add about £100m to the area's economy.