Dalby Forest had never seen anything like it. Hundreds of cyclists poured through the North Yorkshire forest today to take up vantage points for stage one of the Tour de Yorkshire.
A popular spot for seasoned cyclists and members of clubs was the top of Bickley Gate - Bickley was the first climb of the day, though it barely troubled the professionals.
There were cheers as they pounded up the hill, and many amateurs who came over from West Yorkshire yelled encouragement on the Yorkshire contingent in the race.
About 10 riders from Knottingley Velo were among the most vocal. Straight after the forest they were riding to Scarborough, and were also catching the action on the other two stages over the weekend. Member Ryan Firth said: “We watched the Grand Depart at Holme Moss and Kettlewell, and today we’ve ridden 60 miles to get here, but it’s well worth it. We’re all rooting for the Yorkshire lads, especially Ben Swift.”
At the tight Staindale hairpin, further into the forest, Stuart Harley, from Wakefield, said: “It’s a fabuolous setting, brilliant weather, it’s just a great spectacle.”
Back at Bickley, Rob Fletcher, owner of Scarborough Youth Hostel, donned a huge papier mache Wiggins head, which he had carried on the front of his bike. And Shane Green, who went with McCain Foods colleague Jez Clifford, sported an orange ‘Wiggo’ wig. He said: “It’s a great atmosphere here, packed with cycling fans, and then there’s that fantastic ride for us back out of the forest and on to Scarborough.”