Yorkshire Tour de France bosses have announced their intention to “spread the love”, as a broader three-day elite cycle race from 2015 is to cover more of the county.
Leeds City Council chiefs have already expressed an interest getting a slice of the as yet unnamed major international cycle race, which was the headline announcement to come from tourism agency Welcome to Yorkshire’s Y14 business conference, in Harrogate, that marked 100 days until the July 5 and 6 race send off yesterday.
The agency, British Cycling and Tour de France organisers Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) made public that they are on the verge of signing an agreement to deliver a three-day elite race at the Harrogate International Centre event.
Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, told the Yorkshire Evening Post that the aim for the new race would be to take in more areas of the county than the Grand Depart. Explaining that all parties were ready to sign a memorandum of understanding to get the race planning underway, he said: “From May 2015 onwards it will go right the way across the county and we will aim to spread the love, including the coast and places like Ryedale and East Yorkshire.”
He continued: “The vision is to take it to places where the Tour de France isn’t going - not to say it won’t come back to places on the Tour routes.” The excitement surrounding the prospect of future cycling events is hoped to prove a catalyst for a cycling legacy in Yorkshire, something the multi-partner Cycle Yorkshire 10-year project is also aiming to address.
When asked whether Leeds would seek to be on the new 2015 pro cycle route, Leeds City Council chief executive Tom Riordan said: “In principle, of course, it looks as though it’s going to be a brilliant piece of the legacy.”
He said he hopes after the Grand Depart leaves town, Leeds will help “carve a niche” for Yorkshire in providing more cycling facilities and attracting more cycling tourism. The Y14 event, which was attended by Tour legends Bernard Hinault and Brian Robinson.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg was also interviewed on stage, expressing his excitement and confidence at the upcoming Tour. “It shows Yorkshire is really putting itself on the map as far as cycling and regional sporting events is concerned,” he said.