Countdown is on to a momentous Grand Départ.
ANY doubts that the Tour de France’s visit to Leeds would bring benefits to the city have been blown away by the publicity generated by the events to mark the 100-day countdown to the Grand Départ.
The landmark was one of the main items on national news bulletins and acres of newsprint were devoted to the significance of Yorkshire hosting a global sporting event that’s likely to attract millions of spectators to the region in early July.
And this is only the start. From next week King’s Cross Station and the capital’s taxis will be emblazoned with posters promoting Yorkshire and cycling.
Further good news arrives in the shape of the announcement that the county will host an international road race in 2015, and the years that follow.
While the recent focus has been on the potential £2.3m shortfall in funding for the event, all the signs point to the Tour’s visit providing both a short-term boost to the local economy and a long-term lift both in terms of Leeds’s profile and the building of a strong cycling legacy.
Tour de France officials are impressed by the levels of readiness for the Grand Départ and say the city and region are well placed to gain the majority of economic benefits that should total more than £100m.
We’re on track to deliver a fantastic Grand Départ that will be watched by millions. Let the countdown begin.
Bidding fond farewell to Eric and Bernard
THEY’RE the people you can count on. The ones you never imagine won’t be there.
Between them, Eric Simpson and Bernard Atha have been part of the fabric of Leeds life for over a century – and have loved every minute of it.
Bernard, a city councillor since 1957, says the knowledge that he’s helped residents in his Kirkstall ward is the greatest reward he could ask for.
Eric, who has delivered the YEP for over 46 years, insists newspapers are in his blood. Slice him open and you’d see ink inside.
One thing’s for certain. Neither the council nor the YEP will be quite the same without them.