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Welcome to Yorkshire chief meets Prime Minister and cabinet to ask for Tour de France cash

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.

Simon has been news editor at since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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