A FREE celebration on the streets of York will kick-start the Tour de Yorkshire at the end of this month as it prepares to hit the county’s roads.
And scenes from the city during the Tour de Yorkshire will be broadcast to 120 channels worldwide, with the hope that the event will build on the £8m boost brought to York by last year’s Grand Depart.
City of York Council announced plans for what it described as a historic celebration on Thursday, April 30, at the Eye of York near the Castle Museum between 6pm and 7.15pm.
The Eve Of Tour Celebration will be hosted by cycling TV presenter OJ Borg, with entertainment, cycling celebrities, and musical performances.
Among those performing will be Alistair Griffin, who will sing The Road - the official anthem of last year's Grand Départ of the Tour de France, which he wrote.
No tickets will be required for residents and visitors to attend the festivities.
Sally Burns, director of communities and neighbourhoods at York council, said she hoped the event would fill the Eye of York with 1,000 visitors, and build on the £8m last year's Grand Depart brought to the city.
Ms Burns said the council would share the costs of the celebration with Welcome to Yorkshire, and would contribute about £3,000 from the Leeds City Region business rates pool.
She said: "We hope the Tour de Yorkshire will continue to build on the great economic benefits that the 2014 Grand Depart brought to York.
"We will once again be undertaking an assessment after the event to see the scale of the benefits to York."
Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said the Tour could bring £40 million to Yorkshire, and said the Eve Of The Tour event would be "the perfect celebration ahead of the county’s very own international cycle race".
Dee Marshall, from Welcome To Yorkshire, said: "Interest has gone up from broadcasters from 20 stations to 120 around the world. The big thing was to get the race, then the route, and now we've got the cyclists - including Sir Bradley Wiggins, so everything's coming together.
"We have some of the biggest teams and names in cycling, and Sir Bradley is launching Team Wiggins during the event. He could have done that anywhere in the world, but to choose to do it here is fantastic.
"Those pictures of York will go around the world and position the city as a major tourist attraction. For us to have an advertising campaign on 120 channels around the world is probably something that no authority in the region would be able to afford."
Kersten England, chief executive at York council, said: "This Eve of Tour show will be a terrific celebration of the first ever Tour de Yorkshire and we hope people will come along to this free event to be part of it. Some of the greatest cyclists and media from all over the world will be in the city and we want to make sure they have a warm Yorkshire welcome."
Last year, City of York Council spent £206,000 on hosting the Grand Departy at Huntington Stadium, to celebrate the Tour de France visiting the city.
The event only recouped £19,000, making a loss of £187,000, and an overspend of about £60,000 had to be covered by the council’s events budget.
The authority said the plan came “broadly within budget”, but this year’s event is on a much smaller scale, with Welcome To Yorkshire matching the authority’s contribution in kind, with entertainment and staging.
The race starts in Bridlington on Friday, May 1 and finishes in Scarborough later that day. Stage two starts in Selby on Saturday, May 2 and finishes in York's Knavesmire, while stage three starts in Wakefield and ends in Roundhay Park in Leeds on May 3.