Tour de France chief hails Yorkshire

Tour de France race director Christian Prudhomme has insisted that Yorkshire has “raised the bar” for future hosts of the cycling event’s Grand Départ after an estimated crowd of between four and five million people packed the roadsides in the UK county at the weekend.

The opening day of the 2014 edition of the race took place on Saturday, with the race heading from Leeds to Harrogate. On the second day, the cyclists travelled from York to Sheffield, with the race today heading from Cambridge to London before leaving the UK.

“When you said you would deliver the grandest Grand Départ of the Tour it was the truth. You have raised the bar for all future hosts of the Tour de France,” Prudhomme said. “I work for the Tour, but I also love the Tour, and I have seen that the people of Yorkshire love the Tour too. I can see the Tour in their hearts, and in their eyes. For that, I say thank you.”

Gary Verity, the chief executive of tourism organisation Welcome to Yorkshire, which submitted the successful bid to host the Grand Départ, believes the economic impact of the Tour coming to the county could be “transformational.” Consultants at PwC estimate the county could receive £100m (€126m/$171m) in revenue. Costs of £21m were shared between local authorities and partially covered by a £10m grant from the UK Sport high-performance agency.

“Our beautiful county has done itself proud once again,” he said. “Undoubtedly, it will give a huge boost to the Yorkshire economy but it is the images of Yorkshire people, Yorkshire pride and Yorkshire’s outstanding landscapes beamed around the world which have been simply priceless for the county.”