Tour De France

The Tour de France is, without question, the world’s greatest cycling race. The event has been held annually since the first race in 1903, except for when it was stopped for the two World Wars.

While the route changes each year, the format of the race stays the same with at least two time trials, the passage through the mountain chains of the Pyrenees and the Alps, and the finish on the Champs-Élysées in Paris. Riders participate in teams and the number of teams usually varies between 20 and 22, with nine riders in each.

In 2014, the event started from the UK for only the second time in its history. Stage 1 covered 190km from Leeds to Harrogate, Stage 2 stretched 201km from York to Sheffield, and the final UK Stage 3 covered 155km from Cambridge to London.

The Challenge

For an event of this scale, it is a huge undertaking to keep both cyclists and spectators safe. It was particularly important for this event as the Tour passed through a cluster of small Yorkshire towns, where the riders and spectators were in very close proximity to each other. Around 4.8 million people lined the route for the three English stages of the Tour de France 2014. Due to the huge influx of spectators, it was also important to direct traffic efficiently and safely.

The Solution

A-Plant was able to supply a huge range of equipment to ensure the smooth running of the event. Our A-Plant Lux Traffic Control and Management Division supplied a total of 25,000 cones, 4,000 road signs, 6,000 no parking cones and 9,000 sandbags for use during the UK stages. More than 40 Variable Message Signs (VMS) were also supplied to provide directions and safety information to drivers on state-of-the-art LED displays. The supply and distribution of equipment was a huge undertaking involving some 50 A-Plant Lux employees and more than 5,000 man hours.

In addition, our Eve Trakway Division supplied 133,000 metres of barriers. Alongside 1,000 heavy-duty barriers for the key cluster points, the majority were 2.3 metre GT barriers, creating boundaries on the significant stretches of open road. 14,342 of these barriers were bought specifically for the occasion, part of a £14 million investment programme. A total of ten Eve Project Managers were deployed, alongside crew working 12-hour shifts and four teams organising the pre-deployment of the race route along the route.

The Results

Tour de France Race Director Christian Prudhomme described the UK Grand Départ of the 2014 event as the ‘grandest’ in the 111-year history of the race.

This project was a huge logistical challenge in terms of manpower, transport and provision of equipment. The dedication of our personnel in planning and installing the project, together with providing world-class customer service, enabled a successful contract to be delivered at a truly memorable sporting occasion. The Tour de France 2014 showcased our ability to provide a total one-stop solution for events.