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Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Tour de France York staging could be in line for major cash boost

Council chiefs in York are to consider backing the Tour de France's Grand Départ event in the city to the tune of £873,000.

A report to the city council cabinet says the event offers a commercial and cultural opportunity and the potential for a long-lasting legacy.

Councillor Sonja Crisp, cabinet member for leisure, culture and tourism, said: “The Tour de France is one of the world’s top global sporting events attracting a TV audience of over 3.5 billion people.

"When the Grand Départ came to London in 2007, the economic benefit from hosting this major event was estimated to be £88m and a further £35m worth of media coverage to London and surrounding region.

"Working with our city partners and our own expert officers, we have a proven track record of staging high-quality, large-scale events which involve and delight local people and reach international TV audiences."

Councillor Crisp said that while it would bring a huge boost to the city's leisure and tourism industries, it would also be a complex and challenging event to deliver, with an estimated additional 180,000 people coming into the city for the leg of the Tour.

Event organisers will visit the city in early October to finalise the route, highways conditions, promenade and race start arrangements. The total projected cost of staging the event and legacy elements for York is £1.6m.

Members approved use of the Economic Infrastructure Fund to fund the regional contributions of £500k in February, this year, and the government has announced it is providing a contribution to the event of £291,000 for York.

The report highlight’s York’s role in taking the lead for the region on the legacy programme to help improve Yorkshire’s health, environment and economy through the promotion and increased use of cycling, as a transport mode, as a pastime and for sport, in urban and rural areas.

Councillor David Merrett, cabinet member for transport, planning and sustainability, said: “As one of the UK’s top cycling cities, we are in prime position to lead the legacy work for Yorkshire, to build on this once in a lifetime opportunity to raise the profile of cycling in the region and ensure everyone has access to cycling as a safe, effective, cheap, healthy and enjoyable activity for commuting and leisure.

"The collective commitment to a cycling legacy for Yorkshire will secure strategic infrastructure and across the region that we could not realise by working on our own”.

The York Stage 2 start will begin in earnest on the city’s outer roads and will move on through Yorkshire’s visually stunning and technically challenging cycle route, confirming the county’s status as a world-class cycling destination to fans and billions of TV viewers worldwide.

The race will then move on to London before progressing to France. There, three weeks of racing will culminate in Paris and the winner will take the legendary Yellow Jersey, won in 2012 by Olympic gold medal-winning Bradley Wiggins and of course Chris Froome this year.

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