ONE of cycling's best known stars got lost in the Yorkshire Dales as he tried out the Tour de France's Grand Depart route, it has emerged.
Two local youngsters came to the rescue and pointed Mark Cavendish in the right direction after he took refuge in a bus shelter in the pouring rain.
Cavendish told Welcome to Yorkshire boss Gary Verity he couldn’t get a GPS signal in the town and was struggling to find the road to Middleham.
"He had a wonderful time," said Mr Verity. "He was very impressed with the route and the enthusiasm of everyone he met.
"He couldn’t get a GPS signal in Leyburn. I told him that’s an occupational hazard, but these schoolboys knew the route inside out and gave him directions.
"Only then did they realise it was Mark Cavendish. He told them that he was going to win stage one.”
Mr Verity said it gave everyone involved a huge boost to know someone like Cavendish was so enthusiastic and determined, and he had told him everyone in cycling was talking about the Tour and how special it would be.
Cavendish, a super sprinter who has won 25 stages of the Tour in the past, is understood to be desperate to win the first day of the event in North Yorkshire, which will end with a sprint into Harrogate, his mother’s home town.
He tweeted: "Couple of days done looking at the first two stages of Le Tour Yorkshire and I'm tired. Beautiful, but very hard start to a three week race.”
The Tour's Grand Depart is coming to Yorkshire on July 5 and 6.
Upper Dales councillor John Blackie said: “I hope his sense of direction is better on the day, although it’s going to be very hard to get lost on July 5 when the huge cavalcade comes through.
"I don’t think there’s anyone in the town who doesn’t know the exact route, so everyone would have been able to help him along.”
Cllr Blackie added that he believed the Dales were now the amateur cycling capital of Europe with so many cyclists on the roads, trying out the route.
“It is absolutely fantastic, they know where to come to get the best scenery and the best routes. It’s going to be a huge boost for the area," he said.