The road painters were out early, despite the drizzle.
|The A59, near 'HQ Hughes'.|
|"You shall not pass!"|
Past the station and through the ancient Micklegate ...
|Cycling through the Micklegate - a glorious sight awaits.|
|Greeted by a band... and their lone groupie from Japan (she was there all day!)|
|The crowds gathered - after we accidently 'opened up' a little early by barging straight in!|
|Your Bike Shed - a cafe/workshop devoted to all things bicycle. I rest happy!|
|Indoor bike parking for over 20 bikes - what a difference this makes to a relaxing espresso.|
|er, 5 minutes before opening! The staff are fantastic (and very patient.)|
|Perks of early arrival - The delicious Full-English at Your Bike Shed, York.|
|Cycle Heaven, York station.|
We even managed to beat the crowds at the station - just.
|Waiting for the York-Harrogate Le Tour Special - it soon got very busy.|
|The Tour Makers did a wonderful job - always with a smile.|
By 11 am it was already several Tifosi deep along ten's of kilometres of the rout. We couldn't get near. The team split up with most gently wiggling their way to the roadside and me taking a stroll around the rather lovely city of Harrogate.
|This is as close as I could get to the legendary Betty's Tea Room.|
|The not-so-happy face of consumerism - perhaps they've just seen the prices!|
|The entire county seemed to have been covered in homemade wool bunting. Fabulous stuff.|
|The jolliest purveyors of fine Yorkshire street grub.|
|A Manchester couple grab the last remaining crowd free space.|
|With the peloton about an hour away the excitement and atmosphere was electric.|
But where to watch? What to do? Ooh, an invitation to nibble, look at old bikes and watch the stage has just been thrust into my hand - my retro jersey and cap have come to the rescue. A new plan - mid-stage tactics replaces pre-stage strategy!