Two million people are expected to line the opening stages of the 101st Tour de France in Yorkshire this weekend.
Therace begins in Leeds this morning when 198 riders in 22 teams will get a royal send-off from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry.
Organisers hope the Duchess will present the coveted yellow jersey to the stage winner in Harrogate this afternoon, with British sprinter Mark Cavendish tipped as the possible recipient in his mother’s home town.
Fears that the narrow roads and stone walls in the Yorkshire Dales National Park will be too dangerous for the world’s fastest cyclists have been dismissed by five-times Tour de France winner Bernard Hinault.
He told Sky News the challenges that Yorkshire poses are just part of the race.
“It’s for the riders to adapt to the route, not for the route to adapt to the riders,” he said.
Local businesses have been warned to expect up to 700 cars per hour trying to get into what are usually relatively isolated villages, with road closures for the race causing added problems.
Tens of thousands of tents and caravans will be squeezed into fields where sheep and cattle usually graze after officials relaxed the area’s strict planning regulations for the weekend.
Swaledale farmer Mike Barker has created a car park for 5,000 cars, but thinks he’s more likely to get a few hundred at 10 each.
He’s already spent 500 on toilet hire and extra insurance but said he is confident he’ll get his money back.
The Welcome to Yorkshire tourism agency predicts the event, which is watched by billions of TV viewers around the world, will bring 100m into Yorkshire’s economy.
The race ends in Paris on July 27.
All eyes will be on Britain’s Chris Froometo see if he can take the title for Team Sky for the second successiveyear.
It would mark a third straight British win, after Bradley Wiggins rode to victory in 2012.