Nick Clegg is to put his political clout behind securing government funding for the grand depart of the Tour de France in Yorkshire next year.
Gary Verity, chief executive of tourism body Welcome to Yorkshire, has been invited by the Deputy Prime Minister to speak at a Cabinet meeting next week to explain to ministers why the cash is needed.
The total cost of staging the event, including the leg between Cambridge and London, is estimated at around £10m.
Unlike the rival Scottish bid for the event, which was backed financially by UK Sport and British Cycling, the Yorkshire bid was entirely funded by local councils and Welcome to Yorkshire.
Leeds City Council is thought to have made the biggest financial contribution so far with councils covering North Yorkshire, Bradford, Kirklees and York promising funds.
Sources close to Nick Clegg told the Yorkshire Post: “Nick thinks the Tour de France is fantastic news for the region and the whole country, and that the Government has to be absolutely supportive of it.
“As a Sheffield MP it is obviously very close to home for him, and he will be fighting in Government to get the financial support that’s needed.
“Gary Verity has been invited to address the whole Cabinet next week, and Nick will be banging the drum for the cause around the Cabinet table.
“There is obviously a debate to be had about the level of support required, and everyone knows that money is tight.
“There is no guarantee we will be successful but it’s fair to say we are quietly confident.
“We want to make sure this is the best Grand Départ there has ever been.”
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.