How art will play a pivotal role in the 2018 Tour de Yorkshire

PUBLISHED: 00:00 30 April 2018

Welcome sign made from bicyle parts built at Grosmont  during an earlier Tour de Yorkshsire Stage One Bridlington to Scarborough  Photo Allan McKenzie/

Welcome sign made from bicyle parts built at Grosmont during an earlier Tour de Yorkshsire Stage One Bridlington to Scarborough Photo Allan McKenzie/

Simon Wilkinson -

The Tour de Yorkshire doesn’t just bring out the county’s sporty side

A household decks out their welcome cyclists in Grosmont Photo Allan McKenzie/SWpix.comA household decks out their welcome cyclists in Grosmont Photo Allan McKenzie/

The Tour de Yorkshire is now widely regarded as one of the most colourful races on the world cycling calendar – and it’s not just because of the snazzy shades worn by the competitors.

Artists, crafters and makers from all four corners of Yorkshire are inspired each year by the race to create giant land art projects along the route, while communities come together to bedeck their villages and towns with colourful displays of bikes, banners and bunting.

In fact, the art that accompanies the peloton has become such an integral part of the experience that Welcome to Yorkshire, the organisation behind the Tour de Yorkshire, has launched a series of new Best Dressed competitions to run alongside its Land Art prize to crown communities who go above and beyond the call of duty to showcase their area locally, regionally, nationally and internationally via the global TV coverage the race attracts.

As the days tick down to May 3rd, when this year’s race begins in Beverley, East Yorkshire, businesses, landowners, farmers, schools and community groups are creating massive, eye-catching pieces of art, from church spires draped in blue jersey to fields filled with giant bicycles, which will be beamed to millions of TV viewers in more than 180 countries around the world.

Last year, a mammoth artwork (it measured 80 by 65 metres and was made using waste marquee carpet and 3,000 plant pots) celebrating the bicentenary of Branwell Brontë, designed by Andrew Wood from Fields of Vision with the help of children from Haworth Primary School, was crowned the Land Art winner after an international public vote.

The winner of this year’s Land Art competition will be awarded a trophy while the four category winners of the Best Dressed village, town, host location and Spirit of Le Tour competitions will each be presented with exclusive commemorative plaques to display in their communities.

Some encouragement for weary riders  Photo Allan McKenzie/ encouragement for weary riders Photo Allan McKenzie/

Sir Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said: ‘We’re always hugely impressed by the amazing ways people choose to celebrate the Tour de Yorkshire and we’re reminding spectators to let us know what they have planned. That way we can ensure these fantastic installations stand the best chance of getting picked up by the television cameras and winning our Land Art and Best Dressed competitions.’

While the trophies and commemorative plaques are aimed at plucky amateurs and creative communities, professional painter Lucy Pittaway has once again been confirmed as the official artist for the Tour de Yorkshire for a third successive year.

She beat off stiff competition in 2016 and her first commission, Hills, Dales & Woolly Tails, proved hugely popular with cycling fans and art aficionados alike. Her second artwork, Pedals, Passion & Glory, was also a significant success in 2017. Now, for 2018, she’s created not one, but five bespoke official Tour de Yorkshire pieces.

‘We’re delighted to team up with Lucy again and continue our partnership,’ said Sir Gary. ‘Her creations are always a joy to behold; bright, colourful and full of life. We’re in for a real treat this year with no less than five specialist pieces to enjoy.’

Lucy herself is thrilled to be asked back for third time to celebrate her county and the race on canvas.

‘With my home town of Richmond being an official start, it makes this year even more special,’ she said.

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