In pictures: HIC hosts Tour de France countdown event

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg joined 2,000 delegates at Harrogate International Centre last Thursday (27 March) at a celebratory event marking 100 days until the Tour de France comes to Yorkshire.

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Organised by Welcome to Yorkshire, the Y14 annual tourism conference marked the start of the Yorkshire Festival 2014 as well as the Grand Départ Legacy project launch.

A surprise announcement was made on the day revealing the county would launch its own annual international cycle race and festival in May next year.

Clegg, who was invited to speak on stage in the venue’s main auditorium, said he had been taken by surprise with the enthusiasm for the Tour de France and he described the spectacle as a "thrilling event for Yorkshire".

The conference was hosted by national sports presenter Rob Walker, who welcomed stars from the world of cycling on stage including five-times Tour winner Bernard Hinault and Brian Robinson, the first ever English rider to win a Tour de France stage. Both were presented with commemorative Yorkshire Grand Depart shirts by Walker.

Yorkshire singer-songwriter Alistair Griffin performed his new song, The Road, commissioned by Welcome to Yorkshire, which will be the official anthem of the Grand Départ.

In a specially recorded message displayed on HIC’s big screen, British cycling star Sir Bradley Wiggins told guests he hoped the roads would be packed with supporters.

Following the event in the main auditorium guests attended an exhibition of Yorkshire businesses and tourism organisations.

The Grand Départ of the Tour de France will take place in Yorkshire on 5-6 July before heading to Cambridge and London on 7 July.

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