News story

Allez Yorkshire! DIO supports 2014 Tour de France

Defence Infrastructure Organisation staff supported Tour de France cyclists as they raced through military training areas in Yorkshire.

With up to 7,000 people lining the routes during some sections, the prestigious road race began in Leeds and saw Day 1 Stage 1 cycle racing taking place through the hills and dales of North Yorkshire, from Leeds to Harrogate.

The North Yorkshire section ran through Bellerby Ranges and Ripon Parks, two of the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) training sites, at Catterick and Ripon training areas.

DIO staff prepared to welcome ‘le Tour’ by providing assistance to the local emergency services. They worked closely with mountain rescue teams, local authority highways support staff and national police operating from Wathgill Camp as part of a MOD-approved forward operating base.

The services were able to provide direct support to the race in the Richmondshire and Harrogate districts. Working together at Wathgill allowed the operational planning to continue smoothly and effectively.

Tour de France Gold Command
Lieutenant Colonel Graham Whitmore (second from left) with his team colleagues at 'Tour de France Gold Command' in Wakefield Police headquarters [Picture: Crown copyright]

As well as supporting the emergency services, DIO staff worked with colleagues from industry partner Landmarc to minimise disruption to military users of the training areas before and after the race weekend.

With support from the army, the DIO team erected additional signage, carried out pre-race mobile patrols, and developed media messages to reinforce public safety and help to reduce the number of spectators straying onto military training areas.

Lieutenant Colonel Graham Whitmore, from 15 (North East) Brigade, in York, was the MOD point of contact with the event advisers and worked closely with DIO staff. He said:

I thought DIO staff were terrific in terms of the support they contributed to the planning and operating phase of the event. I was very impressed with the flexibility and adaptability they demonstrated as we worked with the Tour organisers to help them stage a hugely successful event.

Talking about the race, Nigel Smith from North Yorkshire County Council said:

It has been a pleasure to be a part of this team; my sincere thanks to all! There has been an awful lot of time, effort and commitment invested by all teams in the event itself, keeping the ‘day job’ going and in many cases doing both.

It is down to the dedication of all involved that we have been able to make this event a success.

Yorkshire road
Yorkshire welcomes the Tour de France [Picture: Crown copyright]

Lieutenant Colonel Mark Holden, Commander DIO Service Delivery Training North, said:

Whilst DIO’s priority is to support our armed forces as they prepare for operations, we have been pleased to be able to offer our time and efforts in support of this significant international event.

Supporting this event has demonstrated how our team and other agencies can work together effectively when under pressure. The occasion had its challenges but excellent cross-team working, co-operation and hard work ensured that this stage of the race was a success and the public safely enjoyed the event.