Councils: Tour de Yorkshire money is ‘worth spending’

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Local authorities backing the first ever Tour de Yorkshire cycle race are promising that bringing the sport’s big names back to the county will prove money well spent next year.

After Leeds and Wakefield were named among the hosts of the start and finish points of the event’s three stages last week, the possible impact of the race is already being speculated on.

Leeds City Council and Wakefield Council are yet to reveal their contributions to the running costs and hosting of the event. However bosses have stressed it is important to “make the most” of the TDF effect.

It has emerged that City of York Council and Scarborough Borough Council have already pledged £150,000 and £135,000 respectively to the May 1 to 3 spectacle.

Further contributions from Leeds and Wakefield, as well as East Yorkshire, North Yorkshire and Selby, are likely to take the public spend to several hundreds of thousands.

Coun Lucinda Yeadon, executive member for leisure at Leeds City Council, said that council officers will work to ensure it is as economically viable for Leeds as possible, but she stopped short of revealing Leeds’s financial contribution. She said: “We have got to make the most of the Grand Depart and the economic benefit and the messages around getting people more active.”

Gary Verity, chief executive of co-organisers Welcome to Yorkshire, explained that the event’s organisation will be “far less onerous than the Grand Depart” as far as local authorities - who forked out £11 million during the summer - are concerned. “Although this isn’t the Tour de France and it is not a ‘grand tour’, this is still very significant,” he said.

Welcome to Yorkshire, which is working with Tour de France owners Amaury Sport Organisation to organise the Tour de Yorkshire, has already stated that no Government funding will be sought for the race, with the majority of funds coming from the private sector.

The overall budget is likely to pale in comparison to the £27m afforded to Le Tour’s July 5 to 7 UK visit, which brought £102m to the county’s economy.

Organisers hope the Tour de Yorkshire will attract a million spectators to the roadside from May 1 to 3.

Around 3.3m did so for the Grand Depart’s two days in Yorkshire.

Thierry Gouvenou, Tour de France course director, will sign off the inaugural Tour de Yorkshire routes on January 21. Legendary former cyclist Brian Robinson, the first Briton to win a stage of the Tour de France, has already pledged his support to the event, saying: “We’ve got everything in Yorkshire.”

The race will feature three men’s stages, a women’s stage on May 2 and an open-to-all amateur sportive on day three.