Region’s bid to host opening stages of Tour de France moves up a gear

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The most senior executives behind the Tour de France are coming to Yorkshire in May as the region’s tourism bosses step up their bid to host the opening stages of the event.

Welcome to Yorkshire have launched an ambitious bid to host the Grand Depart, the opening stage of the race, in 2016.

The Yorkshire Post understands that race director Christian Prudhomme will head the delegation who will spend two days assessing the proposed route and facilities, as well as being guests of honour at a dinner to welcome their arrival.

Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said: “To get this right as a country, with everyone working together pooling resources and expertise, this will be Yorkshire’s Commonwealth Games moment.

“It would have a similar impact on the country as the games did in Manchester, showcasing Yorkshire to the world and putting it on the map as a dynamic place to visit, live and do business.”

The route would start in Leeds before the 22 teams weave their way to the Yorkshire Dales, then head east to Scarborough and the coast, via York and the North York Moors. Then they would drop south to Hull and finally to Sheffield.

The bid has already been backed by world cycling sprint champion Mark Cavendish and Olympic triathlon hopefuls Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee. The racing would be spread over two days covering 180km (112 miles) a day with Leeds hosting a festival of music and entertainment.