Plans to ensure a lasting legacy for cycling from the Tour de France Grand Depart in Yorkshire in 2014 has been given a massive boost by three national cycling organisations, including British Cycling which has emphasised that it wants the staging of the event to translate into concrete benefits for grassroots cycling.
Together with CTC and Sustrans, the governing body for cycling in Great Britain has pledged funding to ensure a long-term legacy for cycling from the Tour's visit to the area.
Graham Tichener, director of legacy for Le Grand Depart 2014, told the York Press that the three organisations would be “putting an awful lot of money and time into this region over the next few years”.
A spokesman for British Cycling told road.cc: "Since ASO awarded the delivery of the 2014 Grand Depart to Yorkshire, we have been working with local authorities to help them provide a long-term legacy for cycling in the region.
“Exciting as it is to have the world’s biggest bike race in Britain, for us large-scale events like the Tour have to deliver sustained benefits.
“So our efforts are concentrated on working with a broad range of community, public and private sector partners across Yorkshire and Humberside now, over a year out, to ensure there are benefits for grassroots cycling – whether people are using bikes as a means of transport, for fun or for sport.”
The news will provide some a welcome relief after it emerged in recent weeks that Visit England did not have the level of funding necessary to back the Yorkshire bid.
The Yorkshire bid was not backed by the Government which instead, through UK Sport backed the rival bid by Edinburgh to stage the 2016 Grand Depart. The Government has so far resisted calls from Yorkshire MPs including Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg who even arranged a meeting with the Prime Minister and cabinet.
Visit England boss James Berresford told the Yorkshire Post that Edinburgh's bid had been more financially viable. He said: Visit Scotland have far more funds at their disposal. And being a devolved authority, they can have that more aggressive approach, because they’ve got more funds to do it. We don’t.”
Dee Marshall, of Welcome To Yorkshire, said: “This will be the region’s chance to shine. We need to maximise what we do and maximise customer care and then we will have a legacy of people coming back time and time again during their lives.”
Also this week, local councils and the police vowed to help promote safety for cyclists in the run up to and following the mass event.
Chief superintendent Alison Higgins, director of operations at North Yorkshire Police, told the Craven Herald that cyclists were 'welcome' to the area.
She said: “The prestige and support for the event itself guarantees a boost to the local economy. It will also showcase the outstanding beauty of our area as a place to visit and as a prime destination for cycling.”
Chris Knowles-Fitton, leader of Craven District Council, said: “This will require mutual respect between motorists and cyclists with all road users recognising their individual responsibility for the safety of each other.”
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.