Yorkshire in Tour bid

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CYCLING’S greatest show on earth - the Tour de France - could be coming to Sheffield as part of an ambitious bid to bring the event to Yorkshire in 2016.

Tourism chiefs have been in Paris discussing plans to bring the opening stage of the race to the county - the Grand Depart.

If the bid is expected the first two days of the Tour will be held in the north, beginning in Leeds.

The route will take the cyclists up to the Yorkshire Dales, then east to Scarborough via York and the North York Moors, before dropping south to Hull and finally to Sheffield.

The Grand Depart is held in a new location outside France every two years, and talks on bringing it to Yorkshire have been taking place for a number of months. At least 22 teams and their entourages would come to the county, bringing substantial economic benefits to the region.

If successful, the county would benefit to the tune of tens of millions of pounds from extra visitors and would be the focus of a worldwide television audience of over two billion people.

Over 185 countries around the world show the Tour de France every year on 92 different television channels with the last hour of every stage broadcast live across Western Europe.

More talks are due to take place next month and plans are under way for the Tour de France organisers to visit Yorkshire to see the proposed route.

Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire which is behind the bid said: “I can confirm that we are having advanced talks to host the Tour de France.

“Those in-depth discussions are ongoing but I can reveal Yorkshire’s bid has been positively received by the organising committee at this stage.

“Yorkshire is a world class destination experienced at successfully hosting world class events and we believe it will provide the perfect backdrop to the world’s greatest cycle race, producing the best international Grand Départ the Tour de France has seen yet.”