THOSE behind Yorkshire’s successful bid to host the initial stages of the Tour de France have met with UK Sport to ensure it receives funding.

Within weeks of learning the county would host the Grand Depart in 2014, the first meetings have already taken place to ensure the full force of the Government is behind it.

At one point it looked like Yorkshire’s bid to host the event would be derailed when a Scottish-led bid threw its hat into the ring to host the 2014 event, after initially tendering for the 2017 race.

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The Government’s sport funding agency UK Sport decided to back the Scottish-led proposal, along with British Cycling.

It would have headed from Edinburgh to Dumfries or Newcastle before passing through the North-West and Wales.

Skipton and Ripon MP Julian Smith and Welcome to Yorkshire met with UK Sport, which distributes sports funding.

Mr Smith said: “UK Sport basically backed a bid from Scotland, so I was saying if you were going to provide funding for Scotland, it should be the same for Yorkshire.

“Yorkshire has done a fully funded bid, it doesn’t technically need the money, but if there are areas they can get money that will be great. It would mean we can make it a bigger event.

“I’m pretty sure we’ll get there but with lottery money you have to go through the processes.”

Mr Smith, UK Sport and Welcome to Yorkshire will meet again to speak in more detail, before the tourism agency puts together a proposal that can be officially submitted to UK Sport’s funding board.

UK Sport said: “It was very much the preliminary stages of discussions, there was nothing formal being decided. Any request for funding will be a formal process.”

• The route the Tour de France will take through Yorkshire will be unveiled in Leeds on Thursday ( January 17).