Yorkshire’s best-dressed town was eager to welcome stage two of the Tour de France and tents and chairs could be seen reserving the best spots from as early as 6am as residents and visitors prepared to catch a glimpse of their heroes.
Mother and son Ann and Anthony Chadwick were just two of Knaresborough’s early risers and had their viewing point secured by 6am.
Ann said: “We’re huge cycling fans and we didn’t want to miss a second. I never thought I would see the Tour de France, let alone at the end of the street.”
Frank McKinny from Derbyshire bagged a viewing point on the sharp corner at Bond End after sleeping in his car overnight. Frank said: “We wanted to get a good place, outside the dotty house.”
The dotty house belongs to Knaresborough Mayor Tony Handley, who transformed the former pub into a homage to the King of the Mountain spotted jersey.
The house has been the focal point of much of the television coverage of Knaresborough, which was named Yorkshire’s best-dressed town for the Tour de France by Welcome to Yorkshire.
Mr Handley said: “It has got us a lot of attention, seeing all the other towns on television, and the effort they have made makes it even more amazing that Knaresborough has won.”
Mayoress Lori Handley said: “I’ve got used to it now, there must have been hundreds of people taking photos every day.”
Tourmaker Peter Cairns, 49, from Glasgow had never even heard of Knaresborough before he was stationed there on Sunday morning. He said: “It is a gorgeous town, a fantastic place. The people are so friendly and everyone has got behind the Tour.”
Barely an inch of pavement was visible in the town as thousands watched the peloton race down the High Street.
Cyclists Simon and Dee Sawyer rode up from Collingham to witness the Tour de France whizz through Knaresborough. Simon said: “We chose to go to Knaresborough because it is one of the most picturesque places on the route. “The race itself is a fantastic sight to see, everyone gets involved, you could feel the anticipation building as the caravan started passing by.”
Mike Havard and John Coy, both 62, travelled from Suffolk to watch the Tour de France in Knaresborough.
John said: “You see so much more on the television, but nothing is like being here.”
John Farmer, 68, travelled from Devon to see the race in Yorkshire and was delighted to catch a glimpse in Knaresborough.
He said: “It is all over in a few seconds, but the atmosphere it is amazing. I can say I was there. I was there and it was great.”
The party continued long after the peloton whizzed off to Starbeck, with thousands of people making the most of the carnival atmosphere in the Market Place and at the Castle top.
Knaresborough mum-of-two Alex Skarratt said: “Today has been amazing, I think it is one of the best things that ever happened in Knaresborough. It’s family time and it has been great.”
Harvey Nichols brought its vintage French Citroën van to Knaresborough, serving cocktails and strawberries at the Castle top.
Hospitality manager Shane Williams said: “When we heard about everything Knaresborough had planned, how could we go anywhere else? It has been fantastic.”