The 82-year-old from Bingley, who died on Christmas Day last year, will have a piece of land art in his memory at Horton-in-Ribblesdale during stage two of the tour from Skipton to Leyburn on Friday, May 1 (stage one for the women).
The land art will be ‘sculpted’ by award-winning Bradford artist Tim Curtis, who is a member of Pennine Cycles.
The village of Horton-in-Ribblesdale is the competitive starting point of the famous Three Peaks race (the riders are escorted there from Helwith Bridge 5½ kilometres away) and is close to the three peaks themselves – Ingleborough, Pen-y-Ghent and Whernside.
Rawnsley not only organised 50 Three Peaks races and competed in 45 but was the first winner of the race in 1961.
The news of the tribute to Rawnsley, who was also a former president of the Yorkshire Cyclo-Cross Association, was announced by Tony Wild at the association’s prize presentation dinner at Otley Golf Club.
Wild, who organised the dinner, said: “My friend John Dennis suggested that a tribute be made to John Rawnsley in the form of a land art installation as the Tour riders pass up the valley.
“With approval from the Rawnsley family, Tim Curtis – an established Bradford artist and winner of previous land art competitions (for example at Baildon, where Tim lives, during the UCI World Championships) – was approached and committed enthusiastically.”
Wild, who had been awarded Otley Cycle Club’s Rider of the Year 24 hours previously, added: “John Dennis approached the various regional bodies – Craven District Council, North Yorkshire County Council, National Parks UK and Welcome to Yorkshire – and all responded enthusiastically.
“Welcome to Yorkshire also suggested a piece on John could be provided for live commentary during the race.
“Tim is currently scoping the design, which will be revealed in due course!
“It is hoped to include volunteer cyclists and their bikes – a chance perhaps for Three Peaks competitors, past and present, friends of John Rawnsley and supporters of cyclo-cross in general to take an active part in paying tribute to him.”