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09/06/2014 - Skipton stages Le Grand Debaaaart

Skipton's Le Grand Debaaaart on July 5 and 6 is a weekend of festivities for all the family as the Tour de France comes to town.

Organisers Craven District Council, Skipton Town Council and Skipton Business Improvement District (BID) have released details of the programme for the Tour de France weekend in Skipton, which is an Official Tour de France Spectator Hub.

The weekend's highlight will be -of course- the passing of the world's greatest cycling race through Skipton High Street at approximately 12.50 pm on July 5. It is preceded by the 'caravan,' a fun parade of sponsor vehicles. Most give out goodies, such as sweets, hats and key chains. But there are plenty of other reasons to visit the Official Spectator Hub.

The main stage in the Town Hall car park will feature a big screen with live coverage of the entire Tour de France stage 1 on July 5m, from approximately 10.50 am until 4.30 pm. Cycling pundit Carl Lawrenson (Tour of Britain, UCI World Track Championships, Men's and Women's Road Cycling at the 2012 Olympics) will be the compere on the day to keep the waiting crowds on the High Street entertained.

Before and after the live coverage, the crowd will be treated to live music by the Skipton Brass Band, local vocalist Rebecca Joy, local singer/songwriter Jen Armstrong, and BBC radio 2 vocalist Paul Stone. The show starts at 8 am and the performers will return to the stage after the race coverage until approximately 6 pm.

The team Savage Skills will perform its amazing BMX stunts during half hour shows elsewhere in the car park, at 9.15am, 1.30pm and 3.30pm. Visitors are invited to test their own pedal power on a bicycle smoothie maker.

The Canal Basin features a big screen with live coverage of stage 1 on July 5 from 8 am onwards. Viewers who want to take a break can go for a ride on bike simulators, including a pedal powered scalectrix and penny farthing bicycles, or enjoy the amazing crafts in the big marquee. Following the live coverage, Disney's Frozen will start on the big screen at 5.30 pm, followed by a Grease sing-a-long at 8 pm.

The festivities continue at the Canal Basin and the High Street on Sunday July 6. View live coverage of stage 2 of the Tour de France on the big screen at Canal Basin, along with a farmers market. Or go to Skipton's famous market on the High Street setts, where there will also be plenty of entertainment.

Walkabout acts will keep the crowds entertained throughout the weekend, while Craven Museum & Galleries will provide Tour de France family fun from 2-4 pm on July 5, alongside its free exhibition Bikes, Legs, Action.

Councillor Simon Myers, Tour de France Lead Member at Craven District Council said: "Skipton is expected to attract large numbers of visitors when the Tour de France passes through. I would encourage all spectators to come early and to plan to stay all day. It will be an unforgettable experience.''

David Wathen, chairman of Skipton BID, added: "The Tour de France is providing a great opportunity to showcase Skipton. The programme ensures people of all ages will enjoy their visit to our great town."

Councillor Chris Harbron, Leader of Skipton Town Council, said: "The partnership of the two Councils and the BID has allowed us to make sure Skipton is really geared up for Le Tour, and that there is plenty going on to keep people entertained across the whole town centre. It should be a fantastic weekend from start to finish."

There will be a special viewing area for disabled spectators in front of Skipton Town Hall. To register interest in a disabled viewing place, please contact Fiona Protheroe at Craven District Council at 01756 706277. The Town Hall car park and the Basin will be wheel chair accessible. Extra disabled toilet facilities will be provided at both locations.

Travelling to Skipton

Visitors travelling to the Skipton Spectator Hub must keep in mind that traveling through Craven is likely to be more difficult during the Tour de France weekend. Car drivers are advised to consult North Yorkshire County Council's Grand D├ępart webpages on with the latest on the Tour de France road closures. Information on local car parks, including temporary ones, can be found on our  page.

While some bus services will be altered, trains will run as normal. Walking or cycling into Skipton is an option, as the Tour de France route remains accessible to pedestrians and cyclists until approximately 30 minutes before the arrival of the Tour's promotional caravan. Cyclists are advised to park their bikes in the managed bicycle parking area in Aireville Park.

More information

Find out more about Le Grand Debaaaart on our  page. Le Grand Debaaaart flyers as well as Welcome to Yorkshire Tour de France Specator Guides are now available at the Tourist Information Centres throughout the district, Craven District Council offices at Belle Vue Square and in libraries around Craven.