ORGANISERS of the Tour De France's Grand Depart say they have been overwhelmed by a call for volunteers.

Welcome to Yorkshire, organisers of the Grand Depart, which will take place in North Yorkshire in July, say 26,000 people applied for the 10,000 voluntary Tourmakers posts.

Asda, which is running the Tourmakers scheme, which will see volunteers lining the race route, welcoming visitors and supporting the emergency and national park services, said it would hold interviews to whittle down the applicants.

The supermarket chain declined to say what selection criteria it would use, but said it expects to have completed the process by April.

Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said: “This response clearly demonstrates not only how excited and passionate people are about the Tour de France coming to Yorkshire, but also their willingness to get out there and get involved in volunteering to help make this the grandest of Grand Départs in history.”

North Yorkshire County Council has predicted more than 680,000 spectators will line the route of the first stage through the Yorkshire Dales and Ripon alone, many standing for five hours to see the 200 riders preceded by a 185-strong caravan of race and sponsors' vehicles.

To help ensure the safety and security of spectactors, all leave for North Yorkshire Police officers and staff has been cancelled from a week before to a week after the event starting on July 5.

Assistant Chief Constable Ken McIntosh said the force would consider the crowd management methods used during the Olympic torch tour in 2012.

He said: “Visitors are not expected to come for just the two days the Tour is with us, but also on the days preceding and post the event.”

The riders competing in the race will be introduced on at a glittering ceremony on July 3, at the First Direct Arena in Leeds, which recently hosted the BBC Sports Personality Of The Year Awards.

The event will be organised by Martin Green, the head of the opening and closing ceremonies for the London 2012 Olympics.

Mr Green said: “The arena will provide the perfect stage for this global event and drawing on my experiences from the London 2012 Olympics, I’m sure it will be an event to remember.”

To register interest in buying tickets for the Team Presentation event, visit