Ilkley has become the first town in Yorkshire to announce it has secured an official free-to-enter “spectator hub” for visitors ahead of the Tour de France race day this July.

Popular visitor area the Riverside Gardens, situated close to the town centre and the A65 road where the race will pass on July 5, will play host to one of the official focal points for visitors and cycling fans to head in advance of the race.

It will have the capacity for up to 8,000 people, and is being promoted as being just a few hundred metres from the railway station.

As well as opportunities to see the race and the riders and official caravan going by, the hubs will also offer visitors the chance to watch the race before and after it reaches them on a big screen.

The Ilkley hub is expected to house locally-sourced food and drink catering stands, cycling activities, a park area, and cycle parking for up to 200 bicycles.

It aims to cater for both cycling enthusiasts and families.

The next set of official hubs across the county will be revealed shortly in Allez Yorkshire, so spectators can start to plan in advance where they want to be based.

The Ilkley2014 group, which is preparing the welcome the prestigious bike race and well as maximise the local tourism boost, was pleased to secure the first official hub.

Ilkley parish councillor, Bryan Websdale, said: “It certainly is a terrific boost for Ilkley. Becoming an Official Spectator Hub reinforces Ilkley as the perfect place to be to celebrate Le Tour de France 2014.

“Local people and visitors will be able to enjoy our exciting events and activities more safely with the additional crowd management and safety resources that will be provided.

“The Ilkley2014 group were central in building a robust and realistic application that clearly satisfied all the stringent criteria set by TDF2014HUB, the delivery agency.”