by Marcus Leach
The Tour de France may have left incredible memories of hundreds of thousands lining the route during its triumphant visit to Yorkshire last July, but the county is still clearing up the mess six months later.
That's the view of a Yorkshire-based waste management company which says signs of Le Tour are still visible, as the cost of the clear-up vies with increased interest in cycling as the true legacy of the event.
With the Tour de Yorkshire cycling event looming this spring, there's still the chance that Tour de France rubbish and graffiti will still be visible to visitors, 'like a neighbour leaving his Christmas lights up'.
"We're based right in the heart of last year's Tour de France route," says BigGreen.co.uk spokesperson Mark Hall, "and it pains us to see that the clear-up from last year's events still hasn't been completed."
Hall says that you only need to take a short drive around the Tour route to see graffiti still on the roads, as well a weather-worn and increasingly tatty promotional bikes and ribbons all over the area.
"Don't get us wrong, we loved the Tour, and it brought out the very best from England's best county, but it's getting a little embarrassing to see so much Tour promotional stuff still in place.
"It's like your lazy neighbour leaving his Christmas lights up until Easter."
The problem is that finishing the Tour clear-up will cost local councils money that they just haven't got in their budgets, which means that it is increasingly likely that nothing will be done.
The irony is that the county made millions from the Tour's visit, but the environmental legacy of the event has apparently stalled. This being the case, the Leeds-based company says that local people should take pride in their local areas, and at least clear the streets of the detritus of the Tour before the tourist season starts again.
"We've got another world-class event coming this May in the shape of the Tour de Yorkshire," Hall said. "And once again the eyes of the world will be upon us as some of the best cyclists in the world return to the county.
"Who's going to pay for the clean-up from last year's events? It shouldn't cost much to make that final effort, and it will be cash well spent."
While the enduring legacy of Le Tour includes greater numbers abandoning cars for cycling, bike banks which allow every child to have access to bikes, along with the boost to local tourism, more should be done to protect the environment and present Yorkshire at its best.
"We hate to be seen as the local grinches in what has been one of the great Yorkshire success stories of recent years, but first impressions are everything, and at the moment, we're looking a little tatty," Hall added.
"Let's pull together and make the county look great for the summer."