Grand Départ organisers seek government help in meeting £10 million cost of staging event next year

Organisers of next year’s Tour de France Grand Départ in Yorkshire yesterday met with Prime Minister David Cameron and other members of the cabinet to seek government help for the estimated £10 million cost of staging the event.

Welcome to Yorkshire chief executive Gary Verity had been invited by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, who is MP for Sheffield Hallam, to address yesterday’s regional cabinet meeting in Leeds, the city which will host the build up to the 2014 Tour and the start of Stage 1.

“Being asked to brief the Cabinet about the Tour de France shows how seriously this Government is taking the Grand Départ,” said Mr Verity afterwards, quoted in the Northern Echo.

“This is undoubtedly a moment for the whole country, not just Yorkshire, to celebrate and today’s positive discussions and feedback from the Cabinet show we are now moving in the right direction.

“Make no mistake, this is a national event, co-ordinated in Yorkshire, for the benefit of Britain. The Cabinet understood that today and I look forward to more positive conversations in the weeks and months ahead.”

Mr Verity also met separately with Culture Secretary Maria Miller, who said that she was keen to see the Tour’s visit provide a lasting legacy, including every child in the region having access to a bike and cycle training.

A government spokesman commented: “It’s great that Yorkshire will host the Grand Départ of the biggest road race in the world next year.
“Cycling is in fantastic shape in Britain, both at the elite end and in grassroots participation, and the Tour coming to these shores will help grow the sport further.”

The Grand Départ, which will see two stages in Yorkshire followed by one from Cambridge to London before the race heads back to France, is expected to generate up to £100 million for the local economy.

Full details of the event can be found on the Le Tour Yorkshire website.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.