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MP fears Tour de France may be ‘hidden away’ on ITV4

Bradley Wiggins cycles out of the Rue du Rivoli followed by Mark Cavendish during the 20th stage of the 2012 Tour de France. Picture by AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani

Bradley Wiggins cycles out of the Rue du Rivoli followed by Mark Cavendish during the 20th stage of the 2012 Tour de France. Picture by AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani

A Yorkshire MP is lobbying national TV bosses to give the visit of the Tour de France prime time coverage on ITV1.

Jason McCartney, MP for Colne Valley, wants assurances that the Grand Depart’s landmark arrival in Yorkshire is given maximum exposure by Tour de France rights-holder ITV rather than being “hidden away” on its lesser ITV4 channel.

In recent years coverage of the Tour de France has been broadcast on ITV4, which has a weekly audience of 10.4m viewers – just a quarter of the weekly audience of ITV1.

Mr McCartney, who is vice chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Groups for both ITV and the Tour de France, has written a personal letter to the channel’s chief executive Adam Crozier.

He told the YEP: “I still think that although we are in the multi-channel world, people are still very much focussed on the main five channels.

With Chris Froome and Sir Bradley Wiggins competing to win, it really does deserve due prominence on its main channel rather than being hidden away.”

In the letter Mr McCartney cites the ITV1 Sunday schedule from March 23, which saw repeats of the likes of All Star Family Fortunes and Miss Marple broadcast.

“I want people around the whole of the UK and around the world to see how beautiful Yorkshire is,” he said.

He also feels Le Tour’s Team Presentation at Leeds’ First Direct Arena should be prominently broadcast, along with the Cambridge to London stage three ride on July 7.

Mr McCartney, who lives close to sections of the stage two route through Holme Moss, claims his letter is backed by fellow MPs.

The Tour de France’s Yorkshire debut is now less than three months away.

The world’s leading cyclists will ride from Leeds to Harrogate on July 5, before the York to Sheffield stage two the following day.

The ITV chief responded to Mr McCartney stating the MP “will be pleased with the range and diversity of the output”.

Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said: “We have for some time been engaged in very positive discussions with ITV and are continuing to do so regards broadcasting of Yorkshire’s Grand Depart.

“We are confident of a positive outcome for all concerned.”

Last year around 1.2m people watched the end of the Tour de France live on ITV4 on July 21.

An ITV spokesman said it would give the Tour “the due prominence it deserves”, with details to be announced later.

 

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