Yorkshire puts its Tour de France hopes in spotlight

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Yorkshire’s bid to host the Tour de France’s Grand Depart was back in the spotlight as the first British cyclist to finish the race joined the campaign at the Lord Mayor’s Show in London.

Brian Robinson, from Mirfield, West Yorkshire, first completed Le Tour in 1955 and went on to become the first Briton to win a stage in 1958.

The 82-year-old, president of the region’s own “Tour”, L’Etape du Dales, joined Welcome to Yorkshire in the parade to urge Britain to Back Le Bid and help bring the opening stages of the world’s biggest annual sporting event to the county in 2014.

It was impossible to miss the tourism agency’s eyecatching pink cars and floats, flanked by “Granny Turismos” riding motorised shopping carts, amid the pageantry on Saturday.

Around half a million people lined the streets to watch the procession, which marked the inauguration of the 685th Lord Mayor of the City of London, Alderman Roger Gifford, who was carried through central London in a golden coach.

Joining him in the parade was Sheffield’s Olympic champion Jessica Ennis, who rode in a Jaguar F-Type sports car.

Before the parade started, Mr Gifford arrived in the City on the royal barge Gloriana as it made its third official outing this year following the Jubilee pageant and Olympic Torch Relay.

This year’s event showcased the talents of 6,500 people, 18 vintage cars, a tank and a steamroller, among others.

But in a split from tradition there were no after-show fireworks this year after organisers agreed there had been enough already at the Diamond Jubilee and Olympic celebrations.

Mr Gifford, who was elected in October, said he hoped all onlookers had a splendid day.