Yorkshire secures £10m government funding pledge for 2014 Tour de France Grand Départ… with strings

Culture Secretary makes commitment but governance much change, Sports Minister highly critical of Welcome to Yorkshire's plans

by Simon_MacMichael   March 20, 2013  

Leeds Headrow and Town Hall (credit Welcome to Yorkshire www.yorkshire.com)

Organisers of next year’s Tour de France Grand Départ are celebrating this evening after Yorkshire MPs secured a promise of £10 million in funding from Secretary of State for Culture Maria Miller to help stage the event. The commitment comes after Sports Minister Hugh Robertson had been highly critical of Welcome to Yorkshire in a letter sent to the chief executive of Leeds City Council.

MS Miller made the commitment following a meeting today with MPs representing constituencies in North Yorkshire one of whom, Julian Sturdy, told York Press: “We’re absolutely delighted the money is secured and there is a wholehearted Government commitment to Yorkshire staging the Tour.

“There are provisos and we must make sure we have a delivery plan which is properly budgeted and which the Government has confidence in, because there have been issues and we can’t brush over that.

“But this commitment has been secured by MPs going directly to the Culture Secretary and is recognition of how important the Tour is to Yorkshire’s economy.”

Julian Smith, MP for Skipton and Ripon, described the promise of funding as “fantastic news,” and went on to say: “I will now be working closely with the Government and Yorkshire’s Tour de France team to ensure we have the structure and governance in place to deliver an outstanding event which showcases Yorkshire to the world.”

According to York Press, in his letter addressed to Tom Riordan, Sports Minister Mr Robertson had criticised the tourism agency for what he viewed as a failure to address the arrangements for Stage 3 of the race, which runs from Cambridge to London.

He also told the Leeds City Council chief executive that the government lacked confidence in what it viewed as a “very unsettled” budget to stage the event.

Welcome to Yorkshire had submitted a bid for funding to UK Sport, but Mr Robertson believed it “difficult if not impossible” to secure cash prior to “detailed information about the delivery of the event as a whole” being given.

He also stated that due to the Tour being likely to attract spectators in large numbers irrespective of advertising, it would not be necessary to put in place an “expensive marketing strategy.”

A source from the Department for Culture Media and Sport quoted in today's Financial Times cast doubt on the abiity of the current plan to deliver the world class event that was expected and said that the department wanted to see a much more joined up approach for the visit of the world's biggest cycle race which maximised the benefits both for Yorkshire and for the other parts of the country that the race passes through. According to the FT report better governance is a pre-condition for the extra £10million in funding.

As we reported earlier this week, British Cycling, Sustrans and CTC are all committed to helping fund a lasting legacy for cycling in Yorkshire as a result of the Tour’s visit next year, although the governing body has said that there must be concrete benefits for grassroots cycling.

However, there were still concerns over how Yorkshire, which beat off competing bids from Edinburgh and Florence to win the right to host the opening days of next year’s race, would actually pay for staging the event itself.

As long as whatever conditions Ms Miller has stipulated can be satisfied, those concerns are now likely to recede, and certainly there seems to be an element of relief among those connected with the bid this evening.

Tomorrow, plans will be revealed for how Yorkshire and next year’s Grand Départ will be showcased during this year’s Tour de France.

15 user comments

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For crying out loud, they got given the right to host the start on what?

Every time another story comes out, its all about someone else chipping in more money for something that seems to be rushed and badly organized. They didn't seem to have any funding in place, just an area to race on.....WELL everywhere has roads....

Just again, a waste of government funding. Pissed me right off, Edinburgh had the funding in place and the backing of almost all the major cycling bodies. Yet Yorkshire got it on what??

I'm sure it must have been a good cup of tea....

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [9362 posts]
20th March 2013 - 22:02


Sour Scottish grapes, Keith? Devil

cavasta's picture

posted by cavasta [220 posts]
20th March 2013 - 22:43


As someone who lives 10km from Holme Moss, so completely free of any Scottish links...it's an absolute farce.
Easy to suggest sour grapes, but just look at the facts. It's a joke.

posted by andyp [1371 posts]
20th March 2013 - 23:00


Yes, it does seem amazing that Yorkshire got the nod when their funding plan seems to have been worked out on the back of an envelope on the hope that the Government would make up any shortfall.

On the other hand Yorkshire had the right to bid and it was ASO's decision over which bid to go for. Yorkshire obv fitted in with their timetable better. My guess is ASO wanted to bring the Tour to Britain as soon as possible to captialise on the wake of Wiggo's win and, of course, the Olympics.

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4201 posts]
20th March 2013 - 23:29


Just thinking about it some more… Scotland could be an independent nation by 2016, so maybe they could bid for the Grand Depart again Thinking

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4201 posts]
20th March 2013 - 23:31


The Tour de France Grand Depart has 3 stages in BRITAIN in 2014. Is that not good news?

This does not preclude a future Edinburgh bid. The plan for Edinburgh was for 2017 originally anyway, and not competing with the Yorkshire bid, which was aimed at 2016 in the first instance.

I appreciate you're aggrieved, and these stories are a red rag bluntly, but it's a done deal now, for better or worse. If reporting of the Yorkshire preparations lights your fuse, then perhaps you'd be wise to avoid stories like these.

Prudhomme did not pick Yorkshire to p*ss you off. Yes payments to ASO are involved if that is what you're hinting at (though Bettys do serve a really good cup of tea). ASO are a commercial organisation, and even French towns have to pay to host stages. If the Yorkshire bid was not funded adequately, or was in any way impractical, you would be watching the Grand Depart in Florence next year. ASO were satisfied, and it's their race when all is said and done.

Please try to find a rationale that will let you support the Tour coming to Britain next year. In turn those of us backing the Yorkshire bid, and I'm sure those backing the Irish depart for the Giro, will do our best to make sure Britain and Ireland become preferred destinations for Grand Tours in future years.

posted by robdaykin (not verified) [309 posts]
20th March 2013 - 23:49


I was present at launch night in Leeds in January and I remember clearly that Gary Verity from Welcome to Yorkshire got all carried away in the moment and pledged 'a bike for every child in Yorkshire'* so there's your £10 million. Big Grin

Prudhomme probably weighed up the UK choice: grim rainsoaked back water with bagpipes versus grim rainsoaked backwater without bagpipes - and naturally chose the latter.

As a Yorkshireman who lived in Scotland I rest my case.

Silly me. You're probably right....

MercuryOne's picture

posted by MercuryOne [1220 posts]
21st March 2013 - 0:03


MercuryOne wrote:
I was present at launch night in Leeds in January

Where were you stood? I was down the left hand end at the front and got picked on by people with microphones several times. I don't think I came across very well on Look North.

posted by robdaykin (not verified) [309 posts]
21st March 2013 - 0:16


I'm not hinting at anything, I know the ASO takes payments from hosts everywhere, that's why some strange places in France crop up every now and then. This bid stinks of backhanders though.

But both Edinburgh and Florence had financial backing and proper plans in place.

Yes its great that the tour is coming to this country. But why are the government having to chip in with £10m when this country is tits up as it is?

There are millions of better ways to spend that money, than hosting a couple of stages which will only benefit a couple of area's from a little tv coverage, some fans travelling there for a couple of days and some new tarred roads.

I'm just wondering how much more of a shortfall the Yorkshire bid has and who else is going to have to come in with money to sort it out?

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [9362 posts]
21st March 2013 - 0:20


Oh, and for the record I'm a Guernseyman living near London. I used to live in Yorkshire till recently though, in Scarborough. The town whose stage was pinched by Cambridge. And I'm going to St Malo this year, 'cos it's the nearest I'll ever get to a 'home' stage. :-P

posted by robdaykin (not verified) [309 posts]
21st March 2013 - 0:20


No matter what anyone says about the bids, the fact is it's coming to Yorkshire so we just have to accept it.

Just look at the football, Russia, with massive racial and football violence gets the nod over England for the 2018 World Cup ?

Doesn't make sense but there is nowt anyone can do about it so just move on

There are no stupid questions, just stupid people.

posted by stumps [3237 posts]
21st March 2013 - 1:24


As an Edinburgh resident, I was actually perversely pleased that Yorkshire got it. Yes, it would be fantastic to have the Grand Depart on my doorstep, but I hope this snub might, in some small way, motivate the authorities up here to put some money and action into making Edinburgh and the surrounding area better for road cycling. There have been plenty of ambitious goals and plans announced in recent times, but it seems mostly hot air up to now. The experience of commuting through Edinburgh still leaves a great deal to be desired.

I'd love it if the award of a Grand Depart were at least partly influenced by demonstrable sustained support for cycling in the local area (rather than simply by backhanders or however it's currently determined Wink ).

posted by CapriciousZephyr [87 posts]
21st March 2013 - 2:58


robdaykin wrote:
The plan for Edinburgh was for 2017 originally anyway, and not competing with the Yorkshire bid, which was aimed at 2016 in the first instance.

Of course it was competing. Foreign Grand Depart every two or three years, so it was never going to go to the UK two years running.

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [9507 posts]
21st March 2013 - 10:45


Hey, the Tour is coming to Britain next year. How good does that sound. Cheer up you lot.
Big Grin

mingmong's picture

posted by mingmong [242 posts]
21st March 2013 - 14:16


I cannot believe the anti against Yorkshire. All the areas visited by Le Tour want it to visit or bypass their towns and villages. In France they pay millions, not thousands, for the privilege, and they gain far more in interest and extra visits. As I have said before, each £1 spent gains £10 in return. Ask the French.

posted by DavidBarryFagley [2 posts]
25th March 2013 - 23:28