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Council leader outlines how York can secure 'Olympic legacy'
YORK'S council leader has outlined how the city plans to build on the legacy of the Olympics following a Government call for the rest of the UK to emulate London's example.
Former Deputy Prime Minister Lord Heseltine and MP Greg Clark, Minister for Decentralisation and Cities, last week said other British cities should look to attract major sporting events to ensure the success of London 2012 does not go to waste.
In a letter to Lord Heseltine, City of York Council leader James Alexander said the authority was committed to "an Olympic legacy for York" and capitalising on the momentum of the Games, saying: "There is a huge amount to be gained from hosting sports events, both in terms of the impact on city and regional economies, but also the legacy of improved sports participation.
"We have been working in conjunction with Welcome to Yorkshire on a bid to bring the Tour de France to York in 2014. You will be aware of Yorkshire's success in contributing to Britain's Olympic medals tally and we also know how to host a great event.
"I am actively working with the Lord Mayor of York's twin town of Dijon, Monsieur Francois Rebsamen, who is also a minister in the French Government, to bring this event to York. York has successfully hosted a number of other major cycle races, and we are confident our good international profile will lead to a favourable outcome."
Yorkshire has bid to stage the Grand Depart, which marks the start of the Tour de France, in either 2014 or 2016, with tourism body Welcome To Yorkshire leading the campaign to secure it. If successful, the 400km route would include York, Scarborough, the North York Moors and the Yorkshire Dales.
As reported on thepress.co.uk on Saturday, race organisers have sent contracts to Welcome To Yorkshire for it to examine and detailed talks are now being held about the route. An announcement is likely either at the end of this month or the start of next month.
The Yorkshire bid has been backed by cycling star Mark Cavendish, whose family live in Harrogate, and Leeds-based Olympic triathlon medallists Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee, and would boost the county’s economy by up to £300 million.
A Welcome To Yorkshire spokeswoman said: “Things are developing very well and we are very optimistic they will announce the Tour de France is coming to Yorkshire in 2014 or 2016.
“The talks have become very serious and we are perusing contracts and looking at a lot of the technical details, such as the width of the roads in the Dales. We are getting a lot of support from local authorities, and the thought of something of this magnitude coming here is very exciting.”