OLYMPIC hero Lizzie Armitstead hailed Yorkshire as the world’s best cycling destination – as council bosses insisted that plans to ensure that 2014’s Tour de France delivers a lasting legacy to Leeds remain on track.
Otley-born Lizzie was yesterday announced as an ambassador for the Dare 2b Yorkshire Festival of Cycling, which will take place in the grounds of Harewood House at the same time as the tour’s visit to the White Rose county next July.
The 24-year-old, who won silver in the women’s cycling road race at London 2012, said: “For me, Yorkshire’s the best cycling destination in the world – the scenery’s beautiful and the terrain is tough, relentless even, but it’s training in these conditions that makes Yorkshire’s cyclists such strong competitors.”
Lizzie’s praise came as a Leeds City Council report revealed a “very challenging timescale” for the construction of a new 14-mile super cycleway.
Awarded £18m funding by the Government over the summer, the route will run east-west across Leeds and into the centre of Bradford.
The Government cash must be spent by September 2015 and the council report warns that the scheme’s “scale, complexity and nature” means it will not be plain sailing.
Yesterday, however, a spokesman for the local authority said: “We are very confident that we can deliver this exciting and high-quality major scheme ... by the specified dates.”
Council bosses have previously said the cycleway will help provide a “lasting legacy” from Yorkshire’s hosting of the opening stages of next year’s Tour de France. For more details about the Harewood festival, visit the www.festivalofcycling.org website.
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