The city was not alone – Yorkshire residents well and truly made the most of the world’s greatest cycle race coming to their back yard, when the Grand Départ of the 2014 Tour de France raced through the county over three days.
Stage 2 of the Tour de Yorkshire started in York and worked its way into Sheffield from the north-west. On the day millions of people lined the entire route as the peloton surged along winding country roads, up infamous Sheffield hills and through the city’s streets.
The event was an overwhelming success, for the sport, the race and the area. The idea of 'legacy' is a buzzword which is too often thrown about following sporting events, but on this occasion it seems people in Sheffield and Yorkshire were truly inspired by the event – from its climactic build-up to those fleeting moments as the cyclists whizzed past in a multicoloured blur.
The route the riders took was a perfect snapshot of Sheffield: it took in rolling countryside, city skylines, industrial areas and, of course, the odd thigh-burning, face-straining incline. Sheffield's four major hill climbs in particular, were noted for being the most gruelling part of the whole 2014 Tour and included the steepest part of the race on Jenkin Road, which also happens to be one of the steepest streets in the country.
Today, it’s quite easy to follow the route of the peloton, testing yourself against the best in the world and reliving the ride, minus the hoards of cheering fans.
The route comes into the Sheffield area from the north, joining the Woodhead Pass and heading east. It goes through the picturesque village of High Bradfield before passing through Oughtibridge and Wadsley Bridge then heading towards the city centre. It then follows Savile Street and Brightside Lane before taking a detour up the most notorious part of the course – the so-called Côte de Wincobank up Jenkin Road. Here, during the race, crowds stood dozens deep to watch the cyclists call on every last drop of energy to power them up the 800m hill.
From Wincobank, the route heads down hill towards Meadowhall, where there is plenty of options for refreshments or onward travel using trains and trams. Look out for the stones shaped like cycling jerseys that now mark the point of the start of the Sheffield section of the race at Midhopestones, and the stage's finish line in Attercliffe, marked by a yellow jersey monument.
Distance: 22 miles from start to finish of the Sheffield section of Stage 2 (Midhopestones to Attercliffe).