Tour de France the showpiece as city lines up host of events

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SHEFFIELD will cement its reputation as a major host city in 2014 with the unveiling of a programme of more than 80 sporting and cultural events in 2014 including the British Ice Skating Championships and the Tour de France.

The city will be a major sporting hub through the year starting in January with the hosting of an indoor athletics match in January and taking in the British Gas synchronised swimming championships alongside annual events such as the World Snooker Championship at The Crucible.

But the sporting highlight of the year will undoubtedly be when the Tour de France arrives in the city at the end of the race’s second stage in July and with it a global television audience.

Isobel Bowler, Sheffield City Council’s cabinet member for 
culture, sport and leisure, said: “Sheffield has always been an exciting hub of cultural and sporting activity and we hope to build 
on the fantastic range of events 
we have hosted and helped to bring to the city in 2013 again next year.

“We are incredibly excited to be hosting the finish of the second stage of the Tour de France on 6 July. More than 250,000 people are expected to watch the event on Sheffield streets and hundreds more local people will be volunteering as Tour Makers.

“Across the Yorkshire region there will be a number of large- scale participation cycle rides and a 100 day cultural festival with further events taking place in the city during that time.

“But we also have a fantastic range of other events planned 
for 2014 which we hope will inspire youngsters and adults alike to try out a new sport, attempt a fun run or half marathon for charity, listen to new bands playing live or to support a community event.”

Sporting events aside, Sheffield will host “Garden Up”, an event by the Royal Horticultural Society showcasing the best gardening talent in an echo of the Chelsea Flower Show.

June will see the return of the Sheffield Children’s Festival and in October literature festival “Off the Shelf” will take place at venues across the city.

Sheffield’s Food Festival will move to the Spring Bank Holiday weekend this year.

Gary Verity, chief executive of tourism agency Welcome to Yorkshire, said: “Next year has all the makings of being the year of Yorkshire. A combination of the Tour de France – the world’s largest annual sporting event – beginning right here in Yorkshire plus the huge amount of other major and varied events going on make it a compelling tourism offer for almost everyone.

“Add in our already established major attractions in South, West, East and North Yorkshire and we have a lot to be proud of and even more to offer visitors.”

The August Bank Holiday 
will see the return of the Sheffield Fair to the Norfolk Heritage Park in a new partnership between the council and Sheffield University.

Several new music festivals are also expected to take place in the city in 2014 with dates expected early in the new year.

There are community events on the calendar, too, including the Chapeltown Gala, Ruskin Park Fun Day and gala days in Dore and Stannington.

Steve Brailey, chief executive of Sheffield International Venues, said: “Once again we can look forward to another packed year of regional, national and international events.

“The 2014 programme will not only boost the local economy through hotel stays and local spend, but it will strengthen the city’s reputation as a leading world sports event destination with superb sporting facilities,” he added.