‘This is an opportunity for whole of Britain’

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NATIONAL tourism leaders say the whole of Britain will benefit from Yorkshire hosting the start of the 2014 Tour de France before a third stage that will finish in the heart of London.

Even though their spending decisions, and those of the Government, have seriously hit Welcome to Yorkshire’s funding, they were quick to praise the organisation’s success in persuading the Tour organisers to bring the race across the English Channel for the first time since 2007.

VisitEngland’s chief executive James Berresford said: “Congratulations to Yorkshire on winning the bid. This is a fantastic opportunity for Yorkshire and will showcase to the world the outstanding beauty and breathtaking landscapes of this wonderful area of England.

“Sport runs through the very fabric of this country and is an incredibly powerful tool to encourage visitors to take a holiday in England.”

VisitBritain chief executive Sandie Dawe said: “The beautiful countryside will be a wonderful backdrop and seen by an international audience as well as the thousands who will come to see the race.”

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, the Sheffield Hallam MP, said: “Huge thanks must go to the team that have secured this prestigious event which will bring in major investment for Yorkshire.”

London Mayor Boris Johnson chose to ignore Yorkshire’s role, saying: “I am thrilled that the Tour de France will return to the UK and no location could be better than London for an exhilarating climax to the British section of the race.”