WHILE many in Yorkshire and across the country will have been watching Bradley Wiggins become the first Briton to win the Tour de France on television, a tourism body were preparing to bring the iconic race to the region.
Welcome to Yorkshire have been campaigning for more than a year for the Grand Depart, the opening stage of the Tour de France, to come to Yorkshire in 2016 – and have confirmed to the Free Press in the past it is likely Bridlington would be a part of any route if Yorkshire was chosen.
Now Bridlington Town Council, and East Riding of Yorkshire Council, have thrown their weight behind the bid.
Detailed talks between tour organisers and Welcome to Yorkshire have been taking place over the past few months, including a bid team visiting the Paris offices of the tour’s organising committee to present Yorkshire’s credentials.
Those talks centred on the Grand Départ, the opening two days of racing, which are held in a new location outside France every two years.
The route submitted for consideration would see competitors cycling through all four ridings of the county over two days, covering 180kms a day.
Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said: “We are delighted to have East Riding of Yorkshire council backing our bid.
“Yorkshire has a cycling heritage unrivalled anywhere in the UK.
“We have had more stage wins in the Tour de France than Scotland, Wales, Ireland or London and we have some true legends of Le Tour, not to mention a young crop of current riders.
“We want to pay tribute to those people and at the same time inspire a new generation of cyclists to emerge from East Yorkshire and the entire county to compete in the world’s largest annual sporting event.”
Bridlington Town Council resolved to fully back the bid at last week’s full council meeting.
And Coun Stephen Parnaby OBE, leader of East Riding of Yorkshire Council, said: “The East Riding is an area with a great passion for cycling.
“The council is already a supporter of the Sky Ride Local scheme and hopes that Britain’s dominance of the Tour de France, culminating with Team Sky’s Bradley Wiggns winning the competition, and the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games will increase interest in the sport.”
This year’s hero Bradley Wiggins, along with other Olympic cyclists, brought large crowds on to the streets of Bridlington in 2008 when the Tour of Britain passed through the town.