‘County of champions’ set for chance to shine

WITH just six months before the Tour de France comes to the region, the head of the organisation which brought it about has promised the Grand Départ will be “Yorkshire’s moment to shine.”

Writing in today’s Yorkshire Post, Welcome to Yorkshire’s chief executive Gary Verity announces that the event “will turn Yorkshire yellow” as plans are revealed to create a carpet of yellow flowers that will surround the route of the race when it starts on July 5.

Mr Verity said: “With exactly six months to go now until the Tour de France arrives, it gives me immense pride to see how Yorkshire is fully behind this event.

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“We’re a county of champions. We’ve produced some of the best cyclists both past and present from Brian Robinson, Beryl Burton, Barry Hoban and Malcolm Elliott to the Downing brothers, Ben Swift, Josh Edmondson to Lizzie Armitstead and, of course, to Mark Cavendish, an ambassador for our bid and an honorary Yorkshireman.”

A private company called TdFHUB2014 Ltd has been established to oversee the organisation of the two Yorkshire stages. Based in Leeds Town Hall, owned by funding body UK Sport and headed by chief executive Nicky Roche, formerly director of operations for London 2012 at the Government Olympic Executive, a spokesman last night said that plans for the race are “on time and on budget”.

A separate report giving details on Leeds’s plans for hosting the race admits “much work is still to be done” but states that “significant steps” have already been taken in preparing for an occasion that should be worth more than £100m to the UK economy.