Screen Shot 2016-05-05 at 10.37.52WE Shall Be … a start town the Tour de Yorkshire will never forget!

Middlesbrough’s best known artist has created a stunning new work as a lasting legacy of the Tour’s visit to Middlesbrough.

Erimus was created by Mackenzie Thorpe in celebration both of the town’s proud industrial heritage and of its long links with cycling.

The striking image features a working man holding a bike aloft against the familiar backdrop of Roseberry Topping and the North York Moors.

In collaboration with Middlesbrough Council, a giant 7m by 4m reproduction of the image – the largest of Mackenzie’s work ever shown in the town – has been installed on the gable end of the Central Library overlooking Centre Square and the start line of Sunday’s race.

A team from Middlesbrough’s Property Services section battled strong winds and driving rain on Friday and Saturday to complete the highly technical installation in time for Sunday’s big event.

A banner of the image has also been put up at Middlesbrough Railway Station, and a version of Erimus also features as the label for a new beer from local brewery Truefitt.

Viewing the piece in situ for the first time this week, Mackenzie said: “It’s overwhelming.

“I was so excited to be asked to be included in the celebrations surrounding the Tour de Yorkshire and immensely proud that my home town would hang a piece of my work in such a prominent place during this worldwide event.

“Middlesbrough always gives me strength and passion and our town motto Erimus (We Shall Be) was the inspiration for this piece.

“It’s all about pride – this is our town, this is our landscape, this is who we are.

“The bikes went to the steelworks, the shipyards and the foundries – they were the mules of our industrial heritage.

“It’s fantastic that we’ve been able to bring a world-class cycling event to the Boro, and I’m proud to be able play a part in celebrating our heritage in front of a huge audience.”  

Councillor Lewis Young, Middlesbrough Council’s Executive Member for Culture, Leisure and Sport, said: “Mackenzie Thorpe’s passion for his home town and its people shines through his work, and we were delighted when he agreed to create a work celebrating our hosting of the Tour de Yorkshire.

“Centre Square will provide a fantastic backdrop for the Tour, and there’s no better artist to showcase the pride we have in our town, and to welcome the world to Middlesbrough.”

Limited edition prints of Erimus are now available – visit www.mackenziethorpe.net