Joint effort behind 
scenes ends legacy of bitter in-fighting

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AFTER months of in-fighting and bitter recriminations over Yorkshire’s hosting of the first stages of the Tour de France next year, all parties insist they are now working closely to ensure the event is a success.

It was announced last month that a new organising committee, TDF 2014 Ltd, has been established under the chairmanship of one of Yorkshire’s best-known sports organisers, Sir Rodney Walker, and a £21m funding package agreed between the region’s local councils and central Government.

The deputy chairmen of the new committee will be Welcome to Yorkshire chief executive Gary Verity and Leeds Council leader Keith Wakefield. Also sitting on the board will be representatives of UK Sport and British Cycling – both of which were originally backing the rival bid to bring the Tour de France to Scotland.

A UK Sport spokeswoman said despite the fears expressed by its board several months ago about the way the event was being handled, the agency is now satisfied with the structures that are in place.

“UK Sport has worked very hard with all the key stakeholders on the Tour de France 2014 in the last few months to corroboratively ensure that the finances and organisational structure is in place to deliver the first three stages of this world class sporting event,” she said.

“The Tour coming to Yorkshire, Cambridge and London next year will be one of the highlights of the sporting calendar and all of the stakeholders are committed to doing all we can to make it a huge success.”

Welcome to Yorkshire, while privately irritated at the blatant attempts to sideline its role in the event – after leading the successful bid last year – will now focus on ensuring Yorkshire’s name is prominently featured on all Grand Depart branding and on delivering a lasting legacy for the region.

A spokesman said: “We are working in partnership with DCMS, Leeds City Council, UK Sport and others to deliver a Grand Départ of the Tour de France that will put Yorkshire on the map globally, and maximise the economic impact for the county – before the race heads south for a third stage from Cambridge to London.

“All parties are committed to ensuring the race is a huge success for Yorkshire and for the rest of the country.”