THREE national cycling organisations have pledged their financial and other support to ensure the 2014 visit of Le Tour de France has a lasting impact on York and the rest of Yorkshire.

Organisers of Le Tour Yorkshire believe it will spark a major increase in cycling in the region and give its tourism a massive long-term boost.

Graham Tichener, director of legacy for Le Grand Depart 2014, made the funding announcement at a conference for businesses and others hoping to benefit from the event. As reported, York will be the departure city for Stage 2 of the race on July 6, 2014.

He said CTC, the national cycling campaigning charity, Sustrans, which promotes sustainable transport including safe cycling routes, and British Cycling, the sport’s national governing body, would be “putting an awful lot of money and time into this region over the next few years”.

There will be a series of road shows throughout Yorkshire this spring for businesses and other organisations to learn about opportunities Le Grand Depart can give them, including one in York’s Museum Gardens on April 23.

The conference at City of York Council’s West Offices looked at ways in which commercial, tourist and voluntary organisations can help Yorkshire leaders achieve their aim of increasing cycling in the region by ten per cent by 2023 and get as many women as men cycling. York already has equal numbers of male and female cyclists but the region and the country have far more male cyclists than female ones.

Le Tour Yorkshire hopes the visit of the world’s best cyclists in July 2014 to York and Yorkshire will also bring £100 million into the local economy and give region massive worldwide promotion.

Dee Marshall, of Welcome To Yorkshire, said: “This will be the region’s chance to shine. We need to maximise what we do and maximise customer care and then we will have a legacy of people coming back time and time again during their lives.”