Plan to permanently signpost Tour de France route revealed as race route details unveiled (From The Northern Echo)
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Plan to permanently signpost Tour de France route revealed as race route details unveiled
11:58am Wednesday 23rd October 2013 in News
PLANS to permanently signpost the route of Tour de France’s opening stage next year and hold a mass cycling event have been announced as the course of next year’s race was unveiled.
At the official launch of 2014 Tour de France in Paris today (Wednesday, October 23), Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, presented the region to nearly 5,000 journalists from across the world.
Details of the 21 stages, which include the Grand Depart stage through the Yorkshire Dales, a second stage starting in York and a leg between Cambridge and London in July, were revealed at the Palais des Congrès.
The majority of the route for the opening two stages had been previously detailed.
Mr Verity said 50 waymarked signs along the route of the opening stage, which includes Wensleydale, Swaledale, Leyburn, Ripon and Harrogate, would be funded and installed by North Yorkshire County Council.
It is hoped the signs, most of which will be in place by early next year, will boost tourism in the region for years to come.
Councillor John Weighell, leader of North Yorkshire County Council, said the economic benefits of providing the signs would far outstrip their cost.
Coun Weighell said the authority was making detailed plans on how to ensure its road network coped with the expected mass of race spectators.
He said: “It is a bit of a step into the unknown because we can’t visualise what the expected million people watching the event on the route will look like.”
Welcome to Yorkshire said plans were being drawn up for a sportive, a mass participation cycling event, which would see cyclists riding the route of the Grand Départ in the weeks before the professional peloton.
There are also plans to use the visit of the Tour de France as a catalyst to attract more international cycle races to Yorkshire as part of the Grand Départ Legacy programme.
Mr Verity said: “Yorkshire’s will be the greatest Grand Départ in the history of the Tour de France.
“We will raise the bar for all future hosts with our Cultural Festival 100 days before the race, two stunning stages and a legacy that leaves a cycling imprint on the county which lasts for generations.
“The Grand Départ will put Yorkshire on the map as a destination capable of hosting world class events in a world class location, providing a springboard to greater things.”
Christian Prudhomme, director of Le Tour, said: “I know the Grand Départ in Yorkshire will be visually stunning and technically challenging and the third stage from the cycling city of Cambridge to the historic heart of London will provide a fitting finale.
“The British cycling fans are passionate people and I am sure they will line the routes of the three stages cheering the teams and riders all the way from Yorkshire to London, providing an unforgettable start to the 2014 Tour.”
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