Tour de France Grand Depart comes to York

Bonjour Le Tour - Allez, allez, allez!

A huge yellow jersey banner has gone up on the roof of York Minster’s central tower

Visit York staff prepare to welcome the Tour de France

First published in News
Last updated

THE stage is set, the bunting is up, and the final potholes have been filled. Now, let the drama begin.

After 18 months of planning and preparation, the eyes of the world will turn to Yorkshire this weekend, as we host the largest annual sporting event on the planet.

Today and tomorrow, the Grand Depart of the 101st Tour de France will see 198 cyclists race through Yorkshire's cities, towns, villages and countryside, watched by crowds of up to four million along the route and a global television audience of countless millions more.

The event is costing Yorkshire £21 million, including £6 million on road repairs, but it is expected to bring an economic boost of more than £100 million, according to Welcome to Yorkshire chief executive Gary Verity.

Mr Verity, the man whose dream brought the Grand Depart to the region, said last night: “Our county is about to make history as we welcome the world’s largest annual sporting event, which will provide a major opportunity for thousands of our businesses to benefit now and into the future."

He said the economic benefit would be felt across several sectors and said: "The Tour is broadcast in around 190 countries, providing Yorkshire with global exposure, and together we will do all we can to maximise this opportunity.”

Kersten England, chief executive of City of York Council, called it a once in a lifetime event and said residents, groups, businesses and council staff had worked to ensure York's beauty and spirit would be remembered by the billions watching the race.

She said: "We’re already seeing the economic impact of this incredible event as people come here to cycle not only for the Tour de France route, but for the rest of the county. We should see a five-year uplift in tourism following the event - which is fantastic - but the real legacy will be about an increase in participation in seeing more people cycling more often across the region."

The peloton leaves Headrow in Leeds at 11am today, cycling in procession to Harewood House, where the official race will be begun by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry.

The route takes in 118 miles, through the Yorkshire Dales and then Ripon before ending in Harrogate around 4.30pm.

Tomorrow, up to 200,000 visitors are expected in York, virtually doubling the city's population for the day. The cyclists will set off from York Racecourse at 11am, to the city-centre at 11.20am, before leaving York via the A59 to Knaresborough, the Dales, and then on to South Yorkshire and Sheffield, including some of the toughest climbs in British cycling.

Festivities will continue throughout the day in York at spectator hubs and local parties and at the Racecourse, where 20,000 free tickets were snapped up within 24 hours of being released.

Yorkshire Ambulance Service has more than 1,000 medics, additional cycling paramedics and three air ambulances will be on duty over the weekend, and say extra staff have been drafted in to minimise the impact of a strike by Unite staff. Almost 1,000 police officers are on duty, as are 7,000 to 8,000 official Tour Makers and 3,000 to 4,000 stewards.

Kate McMullen, head of tourism body Visit York, said: "The sense of celebration and excitement around the Tour de France in York and Yorkshire is fantastic and we’re thrilled with the interest we’ve had from visitors as well as journalists and tour operators."

She said bookings were buoyant, with only a handful of rooms left in the city, and merchandise had been selling well. She said: "Hugely important for us is the legacy this will create; we’re seeing an unprecedented interest in cycling holidays and the world-wide media exposure for York and Yorkshire will benefit tourism for years to come."

Comments (6)

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8:28pm Sat 5 Jul 14

Johnboy1946 says...

Mr Verity is a very worried man. He has spent millions of pounds to bring this fiasco to Yorkshire and is about to lose out big time.
Mr Verity is a very worried man. He has spent millions of pounds to bring this fiasco to Yorkshire and is about to lose out big time. Johnboy1946
  • Score: -10

9:28am Sun 6 Jul 14

yourkidding says...

sounds like one sad old man ?
sounds like one sad old man ? yourkidding
  • Score: 0

11:20am Sun 6 Jul 14

york_chap says...

From the TDF live update article:

"As swiftly as the race came through a mass exodus occured in Otley. "We're off to Harrogate to catch the end," said keen cyclist Sally Clarker of Gargrave as she hopped onto her bike and headed off at speed. By 12.45pm the team of imported security men were removing crash barriers and the pavements were clear."

If this is repeated in York tomorrow and in other places along the route, I fail to see how the predicted £100 million boost to the region's economy will materialise. Hopefully with York being bigger/touristy those who do come here will stay on for a bit. Am not a fan/supporter of the TDF by any means, but it's here now, so I just hope we do actually get some benefit to justify at least in part all the inconvenience, hype and council spending.
From the TDF live update article: "As swiftly as the race came through a mass exodus occured in Otley. "We're off to Harrogate to catch the end," said keen cyclist Sally Clarker of Gargrave as she hopped onto her bike and headed off at speed. By 12.45pm the team of imported security men were removing crash barriers and the pavements were clear." If this is repeated in York tomorrow and in other places along the route, I fail to see how the predicted £100 million boost to the region's economy will materialise. Hopefully with York being bigger/touristy those who do come here will stay on for a bit. Am not a fan/supporter of the TDF by any means, but it's here now, so I just hope we do actually get some benefit to justify at least in part all the inconvenience, hype and council spending. york_chap
  • Score: -1

12:49pm Sun 6 Jul 14

windowlicker says...

Nice one press, 11.20 a you say in the city center? I based my plans on this and got to borobridge road on foot at 11.20, only to find the bikes having passed a couple of minutes back.

Good journalism as per usual.
Nice one press, 11.20 a you say in the city center? I based my plans on this and got to borobridge road on foot at 11.20, only to find the bikes having passed a couple of minutes back. Good journalism as per usual. windowlicker
  • Score: -9

9:40am Mon 7 Jul 14

sheps lad says...

windowlicker wrote:
Nice one press, 11.20 a you say in the city center? I based my plans on this and got to borobridge road on foot at 11.20, only to find the bikes having passed a couple of minutes back.

Good journalism as per usual.
Should have got there earlier, people were there hours earlier. The timings were approximate!
[quote][p][bold]windowlicker[/bold] wrote: Nice one press, 11.20 a you say in the city center? I based my plans on this and got to borobridge road on foot at 11.20, only to find the bikes having passed a couple of minutes back. Good journalism as per usual.[/p][/quote]Should have got there earlier, people were there hours earlier. The timings were approximate! sheps lad
  • Score: 3

10:26pm Mon 7 Jul 14

MouseHouse says...

windowlicker wrote:
Nice one press, 11.20 a you say in the city center? I based my plans on this and got to borobridge road on foot at 11.20, only to find the bikes having passed a couple of minutes back.

Good journalism as per usual.
Your own fault, it's nothing to do with The Press. The times were approximate, and as said elsewhere those at the front had been there for three or four hours.
[quote][p][bold]windowlicker[/bold] wrote: Nice one press, 11.20 a you say in the city center? I based my plans on this and got to borobridge road on foot at 11.20, only to find the bikes having passed a couple of minutes back. Good journalism as per usual.[/p][/quote]Your own fault, it's nothing to do with The Press. The times were approximate, and as said elsewhere those at the front had been there for three or four hours. MouseHouse
  • Score: 0

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