SEVERAL roads in East Lancashire are to be closed over the first weekend in July as the world’s most famous bike race passes by.

Two Tour de France stages will start in Yorkshire on July 5 and 6, with the race coming within a couple of miles of the East Lancashire border.

Spectators wanting to see the race are being urged to turn out well in advance as road closures are expected to cause a traffic backlog.

During the July 5 stage, from Leeds to Harrogate, the race will travel through Skipton. The A56 Colne to Broughton road will be closed around the A59. The A6068 from Colne to Keighley will remain open but congestion is expected.

The second stage, from York to Sheffield, will visit Hebden Bridge and Cragg Vale. All routes off the M65 to Yorkshire will be closed from early morning to mid-afternoon, while routes from Lancashire towards Todmorden and Hebden Bridge will be closed from early in the morning.

The A6068 from Colne to Keighley will include access to Steeton and Airedale Hospital, but there will be no access beyond Keighley into Yorkshire.

A spokesman for Lancashire County Council’s highways department said: “The first stages of the Tour de France will pass close to the Lancashire boundaries, so travel between Lancashire and Yorkshire will be disrupted.

“While this will be a great opportunity to see one of the top annual sports occasions in the world, for safety reasons, the roads that are part of the route will be closed for a minimum of eight hours.

“Access to key locations such as Skipton and Hebden Bridge need careful management and turning up an hour prior to the scheduled time will end in disappointment.”