BUSINESSES in part of North Yorkshire set to be bypassed by the 2014 Tour de France say they remain determined to make the most of the benefits brought by the cycle race.

William Oxley, vice-chairman of the Ryedale Tourism Advisory Board and owner of the 17 Burgate bed and breakfast business in Pickering, has urged firms to co-ordinate and share ideas and initiatives ahead of the world’s biggest single sporting event visiting the county.

The event is expected to bring about three million visitors to the county.

The call follows widespread dismay in the North York Moors, Hambleton, Ryedale and the Yorkshire Coast after race organisers ASO announced the two stages through the county would only pass through York and the Craven, Harrogate and Richmondshire districts.

However, race director Christian Prudhomme has said plans are in hand to return to North Yorkshire after seeing the beauty of the county’s eastern side.

Mr Oxley suggested they could hold a French food competition.

He said: “We have to try to maximise the impact. The key is to get businesses of all sizes and of all interests in the industry thinking and looking at what they can do to tap into it.”

Ben Pilgrim, of Raithwaite Hall Country Retreat, near Whitby, said: “It is a great opportunity to put the spotlight nationally and internationally on the whole of the Yorkshire area.

‘‘We are looking to capitalise as a business and enter into partnership with other organisations.”

Rebecca Palmer-Bunting, of the Robin Hood Caravan Park at Slingsby, said her business would be promoting family cycle rides in Dalby Forest, the Howardian Hills and rides to local pubs in Hovingham and Kirkbymoorside.

The North Yorkshire Moors Railway said it would be highlighting that passengers could take bikes on its trains for a small charge before being dropped off in the middle of the moors.

The North York Moors National Park Authority will hold ten workshops and cluster discussions next month on how to make the most of the Tour de France legacy including marketing, creating new revenue opportunities, spotting ideas from other areas and collaborating.

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