Bradford joined Tour de France fever as the 100-day countdown to the great event got under way.

To mark the official launch of the Grand Depart countdown yesterday, the City Park fountains and City Hall clocktower turned yellow. And the Council invited people to apply for funding for cultural activities in support of the Tour de France.

The start of the first Yorkshire Festival has coincided with the countdown, with one of the opening events being held at Bradford Cathedral today.

The festival is the first to precede the Tour de France in its 11-year history.

As Yorkshire prepared to celebrate, MPs Kris Hopkins (Keighley), Julian Smith (Skipton) and Greg Mulholland (Leeds North West) whose constituencies are included in the route of the famous race, joined Yorkshire Parliamentary colleagues at Westminster in marking the 100 days until the Tour arrives in the county.

Bradford Council is making small arts grants available so organisations can apply for up to £1,000 to fund creative projects on a Tour de France theme.

As the 100 days were marked by Welcome to Yorkshire in Harrogate, Bradford got into the spirit of the occasion.

Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, executive member for culture and tourism, said: “We want to support cultural activities during the Yorkshire Festival and especially over the weekend of the Tour in Yorkshire. We feel there is a lot of cultural talent here and want as many people as possible to get involved.”

The Yorkshire Festival will feature activities across the county. Nearly 50 schemes have already been approved.

Among the first to start the festival is the Tour de Cinema's world premiere of biking film Velorama by Daisy Asquith at Bradford Cathedral at 7pm today. This is the first of 100 free screenings at various locations and it is hoped the film will inspire people to get on their bikes and enjoy the sport of cycling. Details of further local events will be released as they are finalised.

Welcome to Yorkshire chief executive Gary Verity said: “This is a momentous day for our county. We are just 100 days away from making history and something the world will never forget. Yorkshire will never have a better chance to shine on the global stage.”

* Applications for the Bradford grant council funding can be made between March 31 and April 23 to: bobsie.robinson@ bradford,

* Details of events lined up for the 100-day Yorkshire Festival can be found at yorkshirefesti