SPECTATORS lined the streets of a small Dales town to catch a glimpse of some of the world's top cyclists yesterday (Saturday).

Thousands of people descended on Hawes and packed into its cafes and shops as the Tour de France rode into town.

Many waited for hours to bag the best views and were not left disappointed as the 198 riders whizzed past at around 2.30pm.

Organisers said a staggering 10,000 people were on Buttertubs Pass, which featured as one of two King of the Mountains climbs on day one.

Aged 42, Jens Voigt is the oldest rider in this year's race but the German crossed the top of the pass almost three-and-a-half minutes ahead of his closest rivals and more than four-and-a-half minutes in front of the peloton.

But it was 26-year-old Marcel Kittel who won the yellow jersey for the 118-mile stage, which began in Leeds, as he broke away in the final straight in Harrogate to a rapturous applause.

It was a disastrous end for crowd favourite 'Manx Missile' Mark Cavendish who was involved in a multi-bike crash at the sprint finish. 'Cav', as he affectionately known, was taken to hospital and there were fears he had broken a collarbone.

Tests revealed the 29-year-old had infact dislocated his right shoulder and suffered ligament damage.

The Omega Pharma - Quick-Step rider pulled out of the race Sunday morning.

Defending champion Chris Froome, of Team Sky, finished sixth.


Among those watching in Hawes was Ian Nicol, headteacher of Leven Valley Primary School with his children Holly, nine, and Callum, seven.

"We came to soak up the atmosphere," he said. "It was a chance to see an international event close to home that we couldn't pass up."

Joining him was Keith Morris and wife Ann, of Allithwaite, and Paul Platt with his nine-year-old daughter Katie. 

"We just had to be here," said Keith. "It is a real sense of occasion."

Elsewhere friends Jody Ketteringham and Vi Tar, both 36, drove up from London and slept in a lay-by overnight.

"I've been to a few tours and was on the Champs-Elysees when Chris Froome won last year," said Jody. "We chose to come to Hawes because of the climbs and being in the countryside is great."

Meanwhile businesses in the town have reported a boom in trade - with many spectators choosing to camp or stay in B&Bs overnight.

The five-bedroomed White Hart Inn on Main Street served 100 meals Friday night and customers were filing in for their hearty breakfast since 6am yesterday.

"The Tour de France will put Yorkshire on the map," said landlady Pat Kirkbride. "Pictures of Yorkshire will be beamed around the world. It's just fantastic."

Butchers and bakers J.W. Cockett & Sons opened two hours early to help fill the stomachs of cycling enthusiasts.

"It's really good for the town," said one of the three partners in the business, Louise Firmage. "The way the town has pulled together to decorate it is incredible. It will create a really good impression."

And Richard Allen, owner of Elijah & Son convenience store, said: "I don't think people in Hawes have seen anything like this before.

"People have really got behind it and a lot of effort has been put in to make the town look great."

If you have any pictures send them to mike.addison@nqnw.co.uk