Gold medal Olympic winning and world champion cyclist Joanna Rowsell MBE was in Rochdale this week ahead of the Tour de France which comes to the borough on Sunday.
Thousands are expected to line the route on Sunday 6 July when around a kilometre of the world’s largest annual sporting event passes into the borough – adjacent to Blackstone Edge Reservoir during Stage 2 from York to Sheffield.
The 25 year old world record holder, who has lived in Middleton for the last four years, took time out of her intense schedule to promote the benefits of cycling to pupils at Spotland Primary School. She talked about how she started cycling at 16 and what it felt like to win an Olympic medal, before taking questions from the children.
Joanna Rowsell MBE said:
“There are lots of great places to ride around here and it’s fantastic that the Tour de France is coming to our borough … I’m certainly looking forward to going up to Blackstone Edge to watch on Sunday. The thing with cycling is it offers such a massive variety. You don't have to have a specialist bike or specialist equipment to go out cycling. I hope this will encourage more people to give it a go!”
After chatting to the enthusiastic youngsters and posing for photographs she took the short trip to Littleborough. After a quick stop at the White House Pub to see how their last minute preparations are going she got on her bike to sample just what it will be like for the Tour de France riders this weekend, by riding the kilometre of the route that comes into the borough. Recognised as one of the most fascinating sections of the route it’s the culmination of the longest continuous hill climb in England, up from Cragg Vale.
“Since moving to the area four years ago I’ve discovered the stunning scenery the borough has to offer, this is a beautiful part of the world and perfect for exploring on two wheels. I love cycling up Cragg Vale and the views as you ride alongside the reservoir are breathtaking … it’s beautiful, so let’s hope we get sunshine on Sunday when the worlds media will be watching this small but very important corner of the borough!”
After a visit to see how the preparations are going for the big day in Littleborough it was off to the Pioneers Museum in Rochdale, to take a look at a special exhibition being staged there, featuring a range of cycles from delivery bikes to the latest road bikes used by today’s professional cyclists plus the skinsuit worn by Bradley Wiggins in 2004 as the World Individual Pursuit Champion. At the front of the museum is an eye catching ‘ReCycle Sculpture,’ designed and built by members of Sparth Community Centre and the council’s Youth Service.
Councillor Daalat Ali, Cabinet Member for Leisure, Culture and Tourism at Rochdale Borough Council, said excitement for the Tour de France is mounting daily:
“This really is a once in a lifetime experience. The Tour de France coming to Littleborough will be an amazing day and I’m sure the whole event will be a tremendous spectacle. There are lots of events going on, loads to see and do, and a giant screen showing the race in Harehill Park … so lots of reasons for people to choose Rochdale as their Tour de France destination. Joanna has helped get everyone even more excited, especially the children she met today … sporting events like this are a great opportunity to engage our young people and be more active.”
This Sunday anyone intending to watch the race is being advised to arrive early, and be in position by 10.30am.
Travel advice, transport timetables, plus information on other events taking place during the weekend is at www.rochdale.gov.uk
Walking and cycling routes from Hollingworth Lake, Littleborough Rail Station and along the Rochdale Canal will be signposted.
There will be additional buses from Rochdale Transport Interchange to Littleborough from 7am on 6 July. Visit www.rochdale.gov.uk for the timetable.
From 8am free shuttle buses will be operating from Littleborough train station, taking passengers to the White House pub. From there it is a short 10 minute walk to the route the Tour de France will take.
Metrolink will be adding extra carriages to its Rochdale services from 7am, with passengers advised to travel to Rochdale Town Centre (Transport Interchange) and then take a direct bus to Littleborough. For those who want a longer walk, you can depart at Milnrow, Newhey or Kingsway. Visit www.tfgm.com for the timetable.
Northern Rail will be adding extra capacity to trains in the area, there will be a more frequent service running from Manchester to Littleborough via Rochdale, and from 8am free shuttle buses from Littleborough train station to the White House pub, a short 10 minute walk from the race. Visit www.tfgm.com for the timetable.
Car parking in Littleborough will be extremely limited, so drivers are advised to park in Rochdale town centre car parks and take the bus to Littleborough.
Hollingworth Lake car park (590 spaces) will be open. All council owned car parks and on street metered parking in Rochdale town centre are free of charge every Saturday and Sunday. For locations visit www.rochdale.gov.uk/parking
Parking will be prohibited in locations where it is considered dangerous and likely to cause obstruction. These locations will be coned out and it will be an offence to park there. Temporary waiting restrictions will be in place up to 48 hours in advance of the race on certain roads.
Park and cycle
You can also park on Kingsway Business Park and cycle to the race along the scenic canal towpath. The distance from Kingsway is approximately 5 miles.
Free parking permits available
The closed section of Halifax Road between Blackstone Edge Old Road and the White House pub will be made available for parking but by permit holders only, with priority given to Blue Badge holders. You can apply for one of the permits free of charge on a first come first served basis by emailing your name, address and badge number (where applicable) to firstname.lastname@example.org and placing ‘Tour Parking Permit’ in the subject box. These permits will have strict conditions applied to them as we need to secure emergency access to the event at all times and be in a position to safely reopen the A58 as soon as possible after the event.
Temporary public toilets will be signposted and be situated close by the race location, and on the Co-op Foodstore Car Park next to Littleborough Railway Station, and at the Rake, Moorcock and White House Public Houses.
Food and drink
Racegoers are able to bring their own food and drink, although it will also be available for sale. Food and drink will be available from local businesses in Littleborough town centre and also the public houses on the route up to the race site. Alternatively why not being a picnic!
From midnight on 3 July stopping will not be permitted on the A58 Halifax Road from its easterly junction with Blackstone Edge Old Road to the borough boundary including Turvin Road. Both sections of road will be closed completely from 6:30 am on the race day.
The A58 Halifax Road up to Turvin Road will be closed completely from its junction with Blackstone Edge Old Road from 6:30am on Sunday 6 July. The remainder of Halifax Road and the B6225 Hollingworth Road will close mid-morning. All other roads in Rochdale will remain open to traffic, however they will likely become more congested the closer you travel to the race time.
At 6:30 am on Sunday 6 July Turvin Road( B6138) and the A58 Halifax Road from its junction with Blackstone Edge Old Road will be closed to all traffic. Travel between Rochdale and Ripponden / Halifax via the White House will not be available, nor will you be able to travel through Hebden Bridge as this also forms part of the race route.
There will be no entry at the westerly junction of Blackstone Edge Old Road (The Rake) from 6:30am on the race day creating a circulatory route clockwise via Halifax Road and into Blackstone Edge Old Road to exit back onto Halifax Road at The Rake.
In Calderdale the A646 between Todmorden and Hebden Bridge will be closed early morning on 6 July.
The A6033 Todmorden Road will remain open to Todmorden at all times.
All other roads in the Lancashire area such as the A646 Todmorden to Burnley road will remain open.
Parking restrictions will be introduced along Halifax Road, Blackstone Edge Old Road, Canal Street and Hollingworth Road from midnight on 5 July. These will be introduced at locations where it is considered dangerous to park or likely to cause congestion.
Once all available on street parking is taken and to prevent congestion, the remainder of Halifax Road, Hollingworth Road and Church Street under the railway viaduct will be closed. This closure is likely to commence from 8am.
It is essential that access is maintained along the A58 from Rochdale town centre to the race location for emergency services. Any vehicle that obstructs the passage of others will be removed.Residents and local businesses will still be able to access closed roads and the council will be contacting those affected in writing to advise them.
Notice to editors
Joanna Rowsell is a cyclist on the Great Britain Cycling Team and competed at the London 2012 Olympics where she won GOLD in the Women’s Team Pursuit. She is currently the National, European and World Champion, and also the World Record Holder for this event. On her way to Olympic gold the team set their 6th successive World Record for the 3km event.
Joanna continues to compete on the track and is a 5 x World Champion – 4 x Team Pursuit (2008, 09, 12, 14) and 1 x Individual Pursuit (2014) and is competing at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.For 2014 Joanna will continue to ride for Wiggle Honda Women’s Pro Cycling Team to compete on the road in both the UK and Europe.
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