Region shows charms in Tour de France bid

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YORKSHIRE’S tourism bosses have been on a charm offensive in a bid to become the frontrunners to host the opening stage of the Tour de France.

The most senior executives behind the world-famous cycle race have been in Yorkshire this week for key meetings in Leeds and a helicopter tour to get a flavour of what the region has to offer.

Welcome to Yorkshire is bidding to host the Grand Depart, the opening stage of the race, in 2016.

Speaking last night, Welcome to Yorkshire’s chief executive, Gary Verity, said: “They enjoyed their time in the county and saw many of the great assets it has to offer, including its biggest asset, the Yorkshire people.

“The great county has looked splendid, the sun has shone and we have given them a real taste of the landscape, landmarks and passion they can expect to be behind our bid.”

Yorkshire faces competition to host the opening stage of the race with a joint bid unveiled earlier this month by EventScotland, British Cycling and UK Sport.

The proposed Yorkshire route would start in Leeds before taking in the Dales and the North York Moors along with key locations including York, Scarborough, Hull and Sheffield.

The bid has already been backed by world cycling sprint champion Mark Cavendish.

Yorkshire’s tourism leaders now want to get as many people as possible to support the Back Le Bid campaign.

Mr Verity said: “We now want to get as many people as possible to back the bid and bring the world’s biggest annual sporting event to Yorkshire.”

The Tour is watched by 88 million people on TV and around 5,000 follow it wherever it goes.

Leader of Leeds City Council Keith Wakefield said: “I’m proud that Leeds and Yorkshire put on such a great showcase and it would be a privilege to host the world’s biggest annual sporting event.”

You can help Yorkshire’s Tour de France bid by visiting www.yorkshire.com/backlebid