We will benefit from Tour de France, despite East Yorkshire snub, cyclists say
CYCLISTS say East Yorkshire's profile will be boosted by the Tour de France even though it is not passing through the region.
Tourism body Welcome To Yorkshire led the bid for the county to be chosen as a starting point.
But the final decision on the route was down to the organisers of LeTour 2014, not Welcome To Yorkshire.
It will head from Leeds to Harrogate on day one, then down to Sheffield before finally passing through Cambridge into London.
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But members of Hull Thursday Road Club, organiser of Beverley's annual cycling weekend, are delighted the Tour is coming so close.
President Paul Kilvington said: "The Tour de France coming to Yorkshire is absolutely huge.
"At the end of the day, there were going to be a lot of places the Tour couldn't visit.
"I'm delighted to have it right on our doorstep."
The world's biggest cycling race generated £88m for the south east's economy when it passed through London and Kent in 2007.
Hull City Council reacted furiously when they heard the city would miss out on the Tour's money-spinning benefits.
Councillor Terry Geraghty, portfolio holder for leisure and culture, is writing a stinging letter to tourism body Welcome To Yorkshire's chief executive Gary Verity.
On hearing the decision, Cllr Geraghty said: "Once again it just proves when they say Yorkshire they think it stops at York.
"I'm extremely disappointed because we as a council are the only ones who have got a partnership with the British Cycling Association. Quite honestly, I think a trick has been missed."
Mr Kilvington believes there will still be benefits to having such a huge competition so close to home.
He said: "It's sad but I'm not bothered it's not coming through East Yorkshire.
"It will be a 100-mile route and putting it in the middle of the country means the customer base is much bigger.
"I think what people under- estimate is the size of the Tour – it's not like any other bike race."
Hull Thursday Road Club organises the East Yorkshire Classic Cycling Weekend in July.
It normally includes about 800 cyclists taking on routes across the Yorkshire Wolds. They range from a 30km route for novices up to 160km for more able riders.
Mr Kilvington, who has been to see the start of the Tour several times before, said: "It's absolutely massive.
"I would expect a week before the race, the riders will start riding the route.
"The spectators will be in the millions. I think it will give us a boost, not just in cycling but for the whole region."
His view was supported by Councillor Jane Evison, East Riding Council's portfolio holder for economic development, tourism and rural issues.
She said: "While the council is disappointed the world's most prestigious cycle race will not pass through the East Riding, residents will still have the opportunity to see the race, with most of the East Riding just one hour away.
"Hosting one of the world's biggest sporting events in Yorkshire will have untold benefits for the whole county in terms of tourism and boosting the local economy and the council will make every effort to capitalise on this.
"East Yorkshire already has a proud cycling tradition and hopes the legacy of the Tour de France will be similar to that of the Olympic Torch Relay in attracting more people to the sport."
The Tour will start in Leeds on July 5, 2014.