Lucky youngsters from Leeds got the chance to meet Team Sky rider, and local cycling star, Ben Swift on Tuesday (Tuesday 15 April) thanks to a pre Tour De France event held by Sky in Leeds.
Twenty lucky children from The Hunslet Club and Otley Cycling Club as well as Sky employees came along to the exclusive event held at Aspire in Leeds city centre to meet Rotherham-born Team Sky rider Ben Swift.
As well as meeting and having their pictures taken with in-form Yorkshire man, who came third in Milan-San Remo and had stage wins at Coppi e Bartali and the Tour of the Basque Country, the children also took part in a quick-fire question and answer session with the 26-year-old cyclist. During the Q&A session they asked him about how his cycling career got started and his thoughts on the upcoming Tour de France Grand Depart, leaving from Yorkshire in July.
Speaking about the event, Ben said:
“It’s fantastic to be involved in an event like this today seeing first-hand the excitement around cycling with the tour coming to Yorkshire and the Grand Depart in Leeds. Cycling in the UK has transformed so much in the last few years with more people on their bikes than ever.
“Last year I got to attend the first Sky Ride Leeds where thousands of people took to the city on their bikes which was fantastic. It’s not just about winning races it’s about having the freedom to get on your bike and having fun with friends and family. These days I see more people out on their bikes and there’s always a strong support for Team Sky. I know the roads will be packed for the Grand Depart and everyone from the team will be hoping that Yorkshire gets behind us and cheer us on all the way.”
Craig Gilmore, The Hunslet Club’s Sports Development Manager said:
“This was a great opportunity to share in the excitement around the Grand Depart and a unique chance for the kids to get up close and personal with a professional cyclist and learn more about what this entails.”
Richard Flint, Managing director of Sky Betting and Gaming in Leeds, said:
“This event was a great way for us to create even more anticipation ahead of the race in the summer, and the members of Otley Cycling Club and The Hunslet Club in Leeds were really eager to speak to a member of Team Sky ahead of the Tour itself. Raising awareness of cycling in the city is a key objective for Sky and we’re honoured to have a part in such a prestigious event.”
Sky‘s six year partnership with British Cycling has seen the UK become a nation of cyclists with one million more Brits are cycling regularly (once a month) as a result. Sky supports cycling across all levels from our national cycling heroes; through to providing more ways for people of all ages and abilities to get on a bike with Sky Ride mass participation cycle rides or local guided rides. Last year more than 8,500 people took part in Sky Ride Leeds and cycled the 5.2km, traffic-free route around the city’s famous landmarks and the event is back again this year on Sunday 15th June.