THE eyes of the world will be on Essex on Monday when Le Tour arrives – and many along the route are taking advantage of the global stage.
Businesses and local artists in particular have been hard at work readying themselves for one of the world’s biggest annual sporting events.
One artist is certain to capture the imagination of the watching TV audiences when her huge landscape artwork – made up of more than 300 hay bales – is captured by cameras following the race from the skies.
Georgina Elizabeth, 29,aWrittle College contemporary art and design student, won a competition to have her design of a racing cyclist installed on her college fields near Roxwell Road, where the race will pass.
Field art is a tradition of the tour, and its installation began earlier this week.
Georgina, from Holland-on-Sea, said she wanted her image of the cyclist to be dynamic and eyecatching.
She said: “As soon as I learned the Tour de France was passing through the area, I wanted to help Writtle College be a part of this iconic event.
“I’m thrilled my design was chosen and will potentially be seen by thousands of people.”
Artist Nicola Burnell has also been commissioned to create a piece of field art alongside students from the college.
Her design of cyclists in motion will be mowed into a ten-hectare patch of land at North Weild Airifield.
Great Waltham-based sculptor Billie Bond is, meanwhile, hoping to see her iron sculptures of speeding riders get worldwide coverage as the groups hurtle past her front door.
Billie, 49, of South Street, said: “I have been sculpting for about four years now. This was an opportunity for me to create something dynamic and relevant to a personal experience and to share with passers-by.”
Pubs along the route aren’t missing out on the fun.
Many have plans to add to what will be a special atmosphere by holding barbecues and putting up tents and makeshift bars at the side of the road. One pub is even moving into a village hall.
The Compasses Inn, Littley Green, is about 1,000 metres from the route, so owner Joss Ridley has decided to move to Waltham Village Hall, South Street, right where the action is. Joss, 37, said: “Lots of cyclists come in here, and we’ve been following the tour for years, so we wanted to do something on the route.”
Meanwhile, Tom Odell, 32, manager of the Horse and Groom, Writtle, said the pub’s restaurant had been fully booked since March by enthusiasts wanting to watch the tour over lunch.