It was an event that showcased Sheffield to the world and inspired future generations of cyclists.
And now, the passion, profile and excitement of the Tour de France (TdF) is being preserved for years to come, as an ambitious legacy project sponsored by Amey takes shape on the roads of Sheffield – The Outdoor City.
On the first anniversary of the TdF, a stone marker was installed at the finish line of the Grand Depart, on Attercliffe Common, as well as a smaller stone marker at the beginning of the Midhopestones climb, to indicate where the peloton entered Sheffield.
In addition to these markers, work has now begun on formalising some of the more memorable street art which was produced by members of the public during the Grand Depart last year.
Phrases such as “Ey up TdF” and “It’s only pain” were painted on the road at the time, and gained much media attention. Now, these phrases are being transformed into permanent street art on each of the four King of the Mountain climbs in Sheffield – at Midhopestones, Bradfield, Oughtibridge and Jenkin Hill – along with distance markers every quarter of each climb.
Councillor Leigh Bramall, cabinet member for business, skills and development at Sheffield City Council, said: “This new Tour de France-inspired street art is just part of something very special we have here in Sheffield in terms of our relationship with the great outdoors. As this project demonstrates, we are actively building on our reputation, rebranding Sheffield as the Outdoor City, and using this unique offer to bring in more business and tourism.
“At the same time, I think it is absolutely crucial that the excitement and inspiration generated by the Tour in Sheffield last year is preserved for future generations.
“More than 380,000 people lined the streets of Sheffield to watch the race, and our city was showcased on television to more than 18.6 million people worldwide. A post-event survey showed that three quarters of spectators would recommend Sheffield as a tourist destination to family and friends. This sort of enthusiasm is exactly what we need to capture and remember.
“We hope that this street art, together with the stone celebration markers, will cement a long-term legacy of increased cycling participation, attract cyclists and visitors to the city, and remind those who see them of the glorious Grand Depart.”.
Accompanying the start and end stone markers, and the street art, will be a downloadable guide that residents, visitors and cyclists can use.
The project is being sponsored by private sector partners Amey and Eleven Design.
Glenn Thornley from Eleven Design said: “Having the Tour De France come to your home town is a little bit like finding out that the World Cup final will be played in your local park.
“Being able to ride on the same roads as your cycling heroes is like being let loose for a kick-a-bout on Wembley’s hallowed turf.
“Eleven Design are proud to be involved in a project that celebrates a very special day in our city’s sporting history and paves the way for future generations of cyclists to explore our city, find these iconic routes and test themselves on our lung-bursting climbs.”
Rob Allen, Business Director for Amey in Sheffield, said: “We were heavily involved with the preparations for the Tour de France last year, ensuring that the route was suitable and safe for riders and getting the city ready for the volume of visitors to the event. We also cleaned up afterwards.
“The Tour de France was a fantastic event for Sheffield and we’re really proud to continue our support and be involved in this celebratory project.
“The stone markers and street art will be in the city for years to come, acting as a reminder of last year’s successful event.”
The installation of the street art comes as Sheffield is increasingly building upon its reputation as the UK’s Outdoor City.
Last year an independent study, carried out by the Sport Industry Research Centre at Sheffield Hallam University, found that outdoor recreation in Sheffield generates more than £53m in economic output a year, in addition to engaging people in outdoor activity and generating significant health benefits.
Sheffield is also gearing up for one of the key events under the Outdoor City banner – the European Outdoor Summit, which will welcome around 200 delegates to Sheffield City Hall from 13 to 15 October.
Coun Bramall added: “We are proud to call Sheffield The Outdoor City.
“With a third of the city boundaries within the Peak District National Park, a greater spend per head on outdoor equipment than the rest of the UK, an above average participation rate in outdoor pursuits and more than 200 outdoor businesses, the outdoor economy has huge significance to Sheffield, and it is only right that we use this unique offer to grow in a creative and ambitious way.”