Le Grand Départ to set off from York!

17 Jan 2013 @ 3.03 pm
| News
From left to right: Leader of Harrogate Borough Council Cllr Anthony Alton, Welcome to Yorkshire’s Gary Verity, ASO Director Christian Prudhomme, leader of City of York Council Cllr James Alexander and leader of North Yorkshire County Council John Weighell announce the of Le Grand Départ in Paris

Issued by City of York Council

City of York Council is honoured to welcome the announcement today (Thursday 17 January) that the 101st Tour de France Grande Départ, Stage 2 will be hosted by York in July 2014.

Cllr James Alexander and Kersten England joined the Yorkshire delegation to make the announcement in Paris today for what is the world’s largest, annual sporting event, which each year starts in a different country and is known as the Grand Départ of Le Tour.

Race organisers Amaury Sports Organisation (ASO) confirmed during the announcement that next year the race will start in Yorkshire with the second day’s racing on Sunday 6 July beginning in York, the county’s historic capital.

York will welcome some 200 of the world’s best cyclists to the city, to showcase their road riding skills by promenading along the cobbles and cornering the medieval streets with a backdrop of some of the great sights of the city.

The race 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, seven years after the success of the Grand Départ in 2007 and the 2012 London Games, 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 Yorkshire’s own Olympic gold medal-winning Bradley Wiggins.

Kersten England, chief executive of City of York Council, said: “We’re delighted to announce to the world that York is hosting the Tour de France Grand Depart, particularly as this year is its centenary race.

“As a cyclist myself, it’s a privilege to be appointed as the senior legacy lead for the region and to ensure that this important legacy lives on in Yorkshire, builds on this city’s long-standing commitment to cycling and inspires generations to come – maybe even a future Tour winner?”

Councillor James Alexander, leader of City of York Council 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. The economic benefit from hosting a major event like this cannot be underestimated.

“In 2007, it was worth £88 million to London and the south east of England and early conservative estimates put the economic impact for Yorkshire as a whole at £100m. This is something we have worked – as part of the Yorkshire bid – for many months and we will be working to maximise for a lasting impact on our local economy. I’m proud to have played a part in bringing this event to York.”

Councillor Sonja Crisp, Cabinet Member for Leisure, Culture and Tourism said: “The world’s largest annual sporting event is coming to York!

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

“A legacy of the Olympic Torch’s highly-praised visit to York, we have another moment to shine and share with the world our spectacular and welcoming city. This will be a huge boost to the city’s leisure and tourism industries, with an estimated two million spectators in Yorkshire alone.”

York was the only city in the UK to provide both the Olympic and Paralympic Flames with a cycling escort. It is one of the UK’s top cycling cities and its commitment to sustainable transport has secured £4.6 million funding for further improvements.

A combination of this sustainable transport, security, excellent transport links, landscape and accommodation as well as a diverse and long-lived group of committed cycling clubs – including 20 per cent of residents commuting by bike – convinced Le Tour de France that York is a worthy host for this international event.

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