Harrogate is twinned with two European towns, Luchon in France and Montecatini in Italy. Both Luchon and Montecatini are famed for being spa towns but also have a strong link with road cycling.
In 2014, for the first time in the competition’s history, the Tour de France came to Yorkshire, with Harrogate hosting the finish of the first stage of the race. With a thriving atmosphere and four-day celebration, Harrogate certainly made a name for itself in the road cycling industry with the Tour de Yorkshire launching in 2015 following the success of the Tour de France, followed by the UCI World Road Championships coming to the town just five years later in 2019, marking the first time in nearly forty years that the event had come to the UK with an estimated audience of 329 million.
Luchon in France, one of Harrogate’s twin towns, is a permanent stage of the Tour de France and has been since its inception in 1910. In addition to the Tour de France, the pro series race Route de Sud also passes through Luchon and finished in the town in 2008. Luchon is also a mountain biking destination, its position at the confluence of two valleys gives a wide variety of routes up into the mountains, although most of them start with a large climb, there is a gondola that can carry mountain bikes.
Montecatini in Italy has a long association with the Giro d’Italia (Tour of Italy) which began in 1909, hosting the finish of the 9th stage in 2003.