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Grand Départ's head of media explains why this year's event will be the biggest and best Tour ever seen on British soil...

What’s going to secure success for the Tour de Yorkshire this summer? Beer, fish and chips and stunning landscapes of course.

That’s according to Andy Denton, head of media for the enormous event, who spoke to us about how Yorkshire managed to overcome scepticism about its suitability to host the Grand Depart, and how the county intends to put on the biggest Tour ever seen on British soil.

“The initial reaction was one of local pride and national surprise,” said Andy.

“We bid because we wanted to change perceptions of Yorkshire, we had seen how the mindset of Manchester had changed after it had hosted a hugely successful Commonwealth Games in 2002 and we wanted a moment like that; a moment tor aise the profile and the confidence of our county.

“The Tour was a perfect fit for us. The characteristics of the champions of the Tour fit perfectly with the characteristics of Yorkshire, they have passion, they have confidence and they have determination not to give in.

“The Tour too is about the landscape as much as the riders and we knew we had a backdrop that would do justice to the race and so we pulled together a core team to lead on the bid.

It wasn’t always easy to convince the world though, despite the small organising team’s indomitable confidence from the start.

“In Liege the press pack was sceptical about Yorkshire¹s chances against the other bidding cities but by Paris they knew there was a confidence about our bid that made us serious contenders,” Andy said.

“We never doubted it but there was some work to do during that Tour to change perceptions.”

Part of the success of the bid has come from the enormous shift in the popularity of road cycling in the UK in recent years - something the team has worked hard to make use of.

Andy said: “The landscape of cycling has shifted dramatically in favour of Britain since 2007 so I am expecting Yorkshire¹s Grand Départ and the third stage fromCambridge to London to be even bigger than anything anyone has seen before.

“One of the strengths of the bid was the Back le Bid campaign we launched, it received over 130,000 pledges of public support so at those times when there was little we could officially say, there was a daily conversation and positivity about our bid through social media which gave us a momentum the other competing places lacked.

And the public interest hasn’t waned in the slightest, particularly on the Tour de Yorkshire website.. Andy said: “In terms of the digital demand alone we were previously experiencing around 7.5m page views a year, since we have won the right to host the Tour that has jumped to nearly 13m page views a year.

“The international media story has been the most interesting. Internationally, people know where London is and where Edinburgh is, our journey is helping to place a third dot exactly midway between those points to illustrate where Yorkshire is.

“Yorkshire¹s cycling heritage has led the narrative of that story giving the county cycling credibility internationally, but the landscape of Yorkshire too has become a feature of their pieces especially for those who have come and ridden part of the routes.

“Those who have experienced theroutes first hand then make comparisons to Liège-Bastogne-Liège which strengthens Yorkshire¹s cycling credibility once more.

“Food and drink is also an interesting angle for the international media so local beer, local cheese and local fish and chips have all played their part.”

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.

16 comments

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velorules [15 posts] 2 years ago
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Enough with the Tour de Yorkshire rubbish. You're proud of where you live...its been hundreds of years of that rubbish....we get the message. Cambridge would have been more representative of the UK as a whole (more cosmopolitan and larger number of cyclists) and would have flown the flag for the whole country.

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Dr Max [10 posts] 2 years ago
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velorules wrote:

Enough with the Tour de Yorkshire rubbish. You're proud of where you live...its been hundreds of years of that rubbish....we get the message. Cambridge would have been more representative of the UK as a whole (more cosmopolitan and larger number of cyclists) and would have flown the flag for the whole country.

Living in the county in question and being regularly barraged by tin-pot local media, I can sympathise with your Le Tour fatigue. It's not going to go anywhere but up, until July though.

That said, not sure your argument stands up. As Cambridge has a stage it has every opportunity to fly the flag. Not sure it is so much more cosmopolitan than the whole of North, East, South and West Yorkshire(s) though. Does it really have more cyclists than all of these?

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northstar [1108 posts] 2 years ago
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Yes it most definitely does.

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HarrogateSpa [335 posts] 2 years ago
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Quote:

Enough with the Tour de Yorkshire rubbish. You're proud of where you live...its been hundreds of years of that rubbish....we get the message. Cambridge would have been more representative of the UK as a whole (more cosmopolitan and larger number of cyclists) and would have flown the flag for the whole country.

That's provocative.

The 2012 Olympics were in London. Today we're getting a whole day of coverage of the London Marathon. The London bike event in the summer will be all over the TV and the papers. It's about time somewhere else got a look in.

The Yorkshire stages will be fantastic events, and will show off some beautiful scenery. What's wrong with being proud of that?

In any case, the Tour is coming to Yorkshire, it's been decided, so whether grumbles are from French commenters on articles in L' Equipe, or from British ones on road.cc - it's tough, it's too late to change it, so they'll have to lump it.

As someone else has pointed out, the Tour is going to Cambridge, so it's difficult to follow that argument.

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severs1966 [324 posts] 2 years ago
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There may or may not be a renaissance in the "Yorkshire Road Scene" after the Tour. But if there is, it will be entirely confined to competitive sport.

The real annoyance (and it is starting to really p1ss me off) are the local councils bleating on about how it will transform transport, everyone will be cycling to work, etc etc.

They steadfastly refuse to do anything to actually make this happen beyond painting a couple of kilometres of white lines as "new cycle paths" (ie new car parking) in each city centre. About 3 months after the tour is finished, everything will be forgotten and all the promises will be revealed to be lies, as usual.

The mention of "Yorkshire's cycling heritage" is particularly infuriating. It is a heritage of the councils and police doing nothing to prevent a steadily more lethal roadscape, with a modal split of vehicle use that involves close to no cycling at all for the past 20 years or so.

I wish these two-faced self-aggrandising gits would shut up with their lies.

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Him Up North [235 posts] 2 years ago
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I find it hard to believe that Cambridge (pop. 124,000) has more cyclists than the whole of Yorkshire (combined pop. 5.3 million).

Also what the f*** does being cosmopolitan have to do with it? Only in Britain could you find people complaining an event designed to showcase a particular region is too regional. Next you'll be slating the Tour de France itself for being too French.  24

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joemmo [1164 posts] 2 years ago
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Is this cosmopolitan as in 'culturally and ethnically diverse' or is it cosmopolitan as in 'has a rather lovely range of fashionable boutiques and artisan cafés'? Regardless, I'm pretty sure that, between them, Bradford and Harrogate could have pretty good crack at both of those interpretations.

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chrismayoh [26 posts] 2 years ago
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It seems to come as a surprise to a lot of people in a small south eastern corner of the country that there is an awful lot more to this land than just London and the Home Counties. It must be awful to have to travel for a number of hours to an event worth watching, but I'm sorry to say that's what the rest of us have to do

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arfa [734 posts] 2 years ago
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Bizarre that regional tribalism should creep in.
Think about the tour, it is largely one long tourism advert day after day of scenic France with some top level cycling thrown in. Yorkshire will fit that billing very nicely.
Can't wait.

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arfa [734 posts] 2 years ago
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Bizarre that regional tribalism should creep in.
Think about the tour, it is largely one long tourism advert day after day of scenic France with some top level cycling thrown in. Yorkshire will fit that billing very nicely.
Can't wait.

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northstar [1108 posts] 2 years ago
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To be honest unless there is a chance of echelon's then the cambridge to london stage has potential to be very boring.

I hope the two yorkshire stages deliver more exciting racing.

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shay cycles [321 posts] 2 years ago
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I was amused by velorules describing Cambridge as being "more representative of the UK as a whole (more cosmopolitan and larger number of cyclists)"

Surely with more cyclists, being more cosmopolitan (if it really was), having a higher percentage of students and a higher than average disosable income than large parts of the UK you could argue that Cambridge is very much unrepresentative.

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Leodis [403 posts] 2 years ago
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Just looking forward to watching the tour pass through my back yard and enjoy riding on roads used by the tour. Its quite inspiring really, club memberships are up, the roads are getting some work and the sun is out... Chapeau

Cambridge would have been more representative of the UK as a whole (more cosmopolitan and larger number of cyclists) and would have flown the flag for the whole country.

Yawn... Do you have hills down there, I mean real ones?

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Leodis [403 posts] 2 years ago
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velorules wrote:

Enough with the Tour de Yorkshire rubbish. You're proud of where you live...its been hundreds of years of that rubbish....we get the message. Cambridge would have been more representative of the UK as a whole (more cosmopolitan and larger number of cyclists) and would have flown the flag for the whole country.

I didnt think 2012 was flying the flag for the whole country, it was flying for London & SE only.

We should turn the M25 into a moat.

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jollygoodvelo [1400 posts] 2 years ago
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Leodis wrote:
velorules wrote:

Enough with the Tour de Yorkshire rubbish. You're proud of where you live...its been hundreds of years of that rubbish....we get the message. Cambridge would have been more representative of the UK as a whole (more cosmopolitan and larger number of cyclists) and would have flown the flag for the whole country.

I didnt think 2012 was flying the flag for the whole country, it was flying for London & SE only.

We should turn the M25 into a moat.

Tell the people of Weymouth that...  3

Personally I'm really happy that it's going to Yorkshire, and I'm really happy it's coming through Essex. I wish Cambridgeshire/Essex were making something of the opportunity though, instead of resurfacing a couple of roads and hoping it goes away.

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twosparetubes [15 posts] 2 years ago
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If you're coming up t'yorkshire, don't forget your flat caps & whippets cos that's what we all look like ya knows!!!