Seven areas of the UK have expressed an interest in hosting a future Grand Depart on the back of Yorkshire’s Tour de France success, a key organiser has revealed.
Welcome to Yorkshire’s chief executive Gary Verity, the man who led Yorkshire’s bid to host the world renowned cycle race, has also told of how he expects millions to back Yorkshire’s cycling efforts in 2015 as they did for Le Tour.
Claiming authorities in Thailand and Germany have also been in contact with Tour owners Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) over potentially hosting a future Grand Depart, Mr Verity has expressed his vision to capitalise on the summer’s cycling fever by pushing forward the Tour of Yorkshire legacy race.
The three-day event, confirmed as part of the UCI world cycling body’s 2015 calendar from May 1 to 3, will take place over the next three years at least and its figurehead has revealed more to the YEP on its impending arrival.
“Christian Prudhomme (Tour de France race director) was still being contacted by people including Thailand and Germany last week and seven different places in the UK who all say ‘we want what they had in Yorkshire’,” My Verity said.
“It’s cycling and the event itself and how that can put a place on the map if you can take it live on TV in 190 countries in the world.”
Welcome to Yorkshire is now planning next year’s debut Tour of Yorkshire, with key agreements aimed to be in place by November, announcements of start and finish points soon after, and full routes revealed early in the New Year.
Officials from ASO, which will partner Welcome to Yorkshire in running the race, have already visited the region with a view to exploring potential routes. Six start and finish points have been earmarked for the three days of racing but the tourism agency is remaining coy on where exactly it will run.
Mr Verity said: “It’s not going to be the same route every year and we hope it will go to a number of places that the Tour de France didn’t visit, for example the east of Yorkshire and the coast in particular but not exclusively that – like the North York Moors.
“We do have places in mind but because we have a place in mind doesn’t mean to say that it is a done deal.”
He explained that the organisers will not seek Government funding for the race and that deals with sponsors and broadcasters are being pursued in line with a costed business plan, although he was unwilling when asked by the YEP to confirm how much the race will cost to put on.
Stating that the Tour of Yorkshire will be significant but “wont be on the same scale as the Tour de France”, Mr Verity said: “It’s slightly unknown as with all these outdoor events but the model we are working to is that one million people will turn out on the roadside to watch.”