HOTELs in Doncaster are already taking bookings for next year’s Tour de France and expect to be booked up - even though the world’s biggest cycle race will not pass through the borough.
The Mayor of Doncaster has expressed his disappointment that Doncaster will not feature in either of the first two stages of the Grand Depart in July 2014 - but hoteliers say they will reap the rewards from the event nonetheless.
It is hoped French and continental cycling fans will catch the Eurostar for a four-and-a-half hour train journey from Paris to Doncaster, or hop on a plane to Robin Hood Airport.
Business leaders also say Doncaster should gain some benefits from the Yorkshire start of the race, which is the biggest free sporting spectacle on the planet and attracts a television audience of billions.
Richard McIlroy, owner of The Mount Pleasant on Great North Road, Rossington, told The Star: “It will benefit us greatly - we have already taken a booking for that weekend.
“That it’s not coming to Doncaster is slightly disappointing but it’s going to finish in Sheffield which is on the periphery of this area, which I think is great.
“I have absolutely no doubt our 57 rooms will be full that weekend.
“I think people connected with tourism in Doncaster are very pleased it is coming to Yorkshire. It would be nice if it was coming to Doncaster, but it will still put Yorkshire on the map, and there’s no question people will see more of the region on TV.”
The Holiday Inn Express at Warmsworth has also taken a booking for the Tour weekend.
Some cycling pundits had predicted Doncaster might be the finish for the second stage because of its access to the motorway, to help the huge logistics operation in transferring up to 20 teams, and 2,000 journalists, to the stage three start in Cambridge on the Sunday night.
But Sheffield won, and Doncaster Mayor Peter Davies said: “I am disappointed Doncaster was overlooked as we have strong cycling links in the town. Just last month we hosted one of the stages of the British Cyclo-Cross Northern Championship.
“But it is still important we tap into this major sporting event to showcase our superb location and many wonderful attractions to a worldwide audience.
“Before they go, or after they have been to the cycling, we want them to see quality racing action at our world class racecourse, visit our popular wildlife park, or take the time to explore some of our other treasures.
“With the first stop on the East Coast Mainline in Yorkshire making the town just four-and-a-half hours from Paris by train, and an international airport, I expect many visitors to arrive in the region via Doncaster.
“I know of one local hotel which has already taken a booking from people coming to enjoy the spectacle.”
Dan Fell, spokesman for Doncaster Chamber of Commerce, also expressed ‘disappointment’ but said the fact the tour is coming to Yorkshire is still good news.
“This was never about Doncaster versus other parts of Yorkshire, it was about Yorkshire versus other parts of Europe - consequently, Welcome to Yorkshire should be congratulated on their efforts in landing the tour,” he said.
“Local businesses will still benefit as a result of visitors coming to Yorkshire to watch the tour who then stay in the region for a few more days.
“We hope some of those visitors will venture into Doncaster and enjoy its many attractions and visitor sites.”