ONE of Yorkshire’s MPs has held the first of a series of meetings to ensure grassroots communities benefit from the multi-million pound windfall which the Tour de France will bring when it arrives in the region.
The Conservative MP for Skipton and Ripon, Julian Smith, has hosted the first leg of a tour of his constituency to highlight the huge economic opportunities that will be presented with the staging of the Grand Départ of the world’s largest annual sporting event next year.
The race is expected to attract two million spectators and 2,000 journalists from around world, bringing an estimated £100m boost for the region.
Mr Smith, who is the chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group for 2014 Yorkshire and UK Tour de France, travelled part of the route which the world-famous bike race will follow to hold meetings in Masham and Ripon and discuss the showpiece event with the community in North Stainley and Wormald Green.
He said: “I was really pleased to meet so many people who are enthused by the sporting, business, tourism and health benefits that the Grand Départ will bring.
“I am working hard at Westminster and in the constituency to ensure we capitalise on those opportunities to ensure everyone, from the bed and breakfast and the café to the gallery and the museum, gets a boost from having the world’s largest annual sporting event on our doorstep.
“I will be keeping in touch with those I met in the coming weeks and months to ensure they are aware of how they can get involved with the Yorkshire Grand Départ.”
It was announced in December that Yorkshire had been successful in its bid to host the opening two stages of next year’s Tour de France in what was heralded as the region’s greatest sporting coup.
The route will set off from Leeds to Harrogate on July 5, before starting in York and finishing in Sheffield the following day.
Moves are underway elsewhere in Yorkshire to ensure the maximum benefits are achieved from staging the Tour de France in Yorkshire. The Yorkshire Post revealed last month that a meeting had been organised by council leaders and tourism chiefs in York.
Mr Smith confirmed he will be travelling along the route of the race through other parts of his constituency later in the year.